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Monday, December 22, 2014
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No. 5 Missouri silences critics with 89-88 victory at No. 3 Baylor

Baylor guard Brady Heslip buried a three-pointer from the corner as time expired Saturday. It did not matter one bit, as No. 5 Missouri claimed an 89-88 victory over No. 3 Baylor in Waco, Texas.

Just seconds before, Missouri guard Marcus Denmon sank the second of two free throws to stretch the Tiger lead to four. That converted free throw would prove to be the dagger in the victory.

The win improved MU to 18-1 overall and 5-1 in Big 12 Conference play. The Tigers are now in sole possession of second place in the Big 12, behind only Kansas (5-0).

"Obviously this was a great win for us," coach Frank Haith said. "Our guys showed tremendous poise down the stretch. Throughout the game, we played with great toughness."

Coming into the game, No. 3 Baylor was supposed to have the clear edge on the glass, but the Tigers won the boards battle, out-rebounding the Bears 27-24.

"Our ability to rebound the ball was important for us to win this game, and we were able to get that," Haith said.

The 89 Missouri points raised the team’s season average, which was fourth highest in the country coming into Saturday’s game.

“Against a team that played zone, I thought we did a great job,” Haith said. “We didn't want to settle for a bunch of 3s”

The loss was Baylor’s second straight, after losing to Kansas in Lawrence Monday night.

That's what makes our league so great," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "There's no easy game. Hopefully we'll get back to rebounding a little better, trying to get to the free-throw line like we were for most of the year, and then go from there."

Senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe led the team with eight rebounds, and also led the team with a career-high 27 points. Sophomore guard Phil Pressey also played a big role in the victory, finishing with a final stat line of 18 points, five rebounds, seven assists and six steals.

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