On Friday night, Missouri took one final look back before the unofficial start of the 2009 basketball season.
Prior to tipoff in the Black and Gold Game, coach Mike Anderson handed out rings commemorating last year’s Big 12 Championship to players who participated in the tournament.
Then, the first step of the new season began. In an intra-squad affair, the Missouri Black team took down the Gold team, 91-82.
“I thought they played with some energy given that they only had limited substitutions,” Anderson said. “We’ll have a weekend of practice. I treat that as a practice as well.”
Sophomore guard Kim English led all scorers with 32 points, 12 on 21 from the field and four of 11 from beyond the arc for the Black team.
Sophomore guard Miguel Paul led the Gold team in scoring with 19 points on seven of nine shooting, despite battling an illness during the week.
UM system President Gary Forsee and Gov. Jay Nixon were honorary coaches for the game.
The contest was dominated by quick trigger guards and featured plenty of shots.
“We’re back to defense in the morning,” senior guard J.T. Tiller said. “It’s all seriousness getting ready for the season.”
To start the game, the Black team jumped out to an early 6-0 lead.
Fans got an early look at freshman guard Michael Dixon as he scored the first two points of the game on the first shot of the game. Dixon ended up with 22 points total and was two of four from beyond the 3-point line.
Dixon was recruited out of Lee’s Summit West in the Kansas City area.
“With Mike, you can see why he’s one of the better players in our state,” Anderson said. “He’s got a quick first step. It’s going to be a process just learning what he can and can’t do at this level.”
The Gold team held a 58-50 lead over the Black team at halftime. English led all scorers with 18 points in the first half.
With 1.1 seconds remaining, Dixon committed his fifth foul. Under normal circumstances, Dixon would have fouled out of the game.
But the freshman had a little help from his coach, Nixon.
“I pardoned him,” Nixon said.
With the special sanction from Nixon, Dixon took the court again in the second half.
Anderson said he had no thoughts of defying Nixon’s decision.
“If the governor says he got a pardon, he got a pardon,” Anderson said.
Dixon came out to play the second half, scoring 11 more points and even accruing another foul.
The second half saw the teams trading leads until the Black team pulled away toward the end of the game.
After scoring 58 points in the first half, the Gold team was held to 24 points in the second.
The game featured four lead changes and the score was tied three times. The Black got the better of the Gold team by shooting 58.3 percent from the floor.
Sophomore forward Laurence Bowers led all players with nine rebounds in the game.
Mizzou Arena saw 5,324 come for the contest, one year after 2,529 showed up for last year’s Black and Gold Game.
The Tigers open the exhibition season with Truman State on Nov. 6.