Home sweet home
Missouri has looked like a completely different team at Mizzou Arena than when on the road or at a neutral site. By beating Fairleigh Dickinson 87-36, the Tigers improved to 5-0 at home. Missouri is hurting away from Columbia, posting a 1-3 mark.
The Tigers are averaging 95 points a game at Mizzou Arena and 65 points outside of Columbia. Missouri owns a 40.4-point average margin of victory at home this year.
“On the road it seems like we have been playing at the other team’s pace,” sophomore forward Laurence Bowers said. “We haven’t been forcing our way on other teams and I think that if we can carry over the intensity from tonight through these next few games and take it on the road, I think we’ll be OK.”
Missouri’s win bounced it back from a last-second loss to Oral Roberts on Wednesday.
“I feel we’ve been playing, as a whole, mediocre,” senior guard Zaire Taylor said. “It’s time to step up and this can be a building block to future success or we could just keep riding the see-saw.
Missouri changed things up with its starting lineup against the Knights. Taylor started the game on the bench for the first time this season as freshman guard Michael Dixon took his place.
Bowers got his second start this season and replaced junior forward Justin Safford.
Dixon scored the game’s first points, and Bowers had four points (including a dunk) before the game’s first sub-ins.
“I told our guys it’s like putting a puzzle together with this basketball team,” coach Mike Anderson said. “You’re trying to find out the pieces that fit and how they fit. That’s why you even saw guys injected into the lineup just to see how they would come out and perform.”
With Taylor out of the starting lineup, senior forward Keith Ramsey is the only Missouri player to start every game this season. Dixon started twice before, both times replacing senior guard J.T. Tiller in the lineup.
The only other Tiger to start a game this year is sophomore guard Marcus Denmon, who started four games in a row in place of sophomore guard Kim English.
Missouri now leads the all-time series against Fairleigh Dickinson 2-0. The first meeting between the two teams was on Nov. 29, 1975, and Missouri came way with the victory in Columbia.
The victory pushes Missouri’s home win streak to 24 games — good for third all-time in Missouri history. The Tigers also pushed their non-conference home win streak under Anderson to 35 games. The Tigers have not lost a home conference game with Anderson at the helm.
The Knights (who fell to 1-10 this season) had trouble keeping up with Missouri the entire game. The 36 points Fairleigh Dickinson scored were a record-low at Mizzou Arena and the lowest the Tigers allowed to an opponent since Arkansas-Pine Bluff put up 33 points Dec. 9, 1998.
Missouri has a week before hitting the court again. The next action it will see will be against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 19 at Mizzou Arena.