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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Missouri clips the Ducks

The Tigers used hot 3-point shooting to pull away by halftime.

Dec. 5, 2009

Back home for the first time in more than a week and struggling with shooting problems, Missouri decided to dial long distance to snap its schnide.

The Tigers shot 9 of 17 from 3-point land in the first half to build a 29-point lead and all but bury Oregon on their way to a 106-69 victory.

After falling to Richmond and Vanderbilt its previous two games, Missouri broke its first two-game losing streak since the end of the 2007-2008 season and improved to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Series.

“We had one of those spurts, when the game was going back and forth, but I thought our guys really came in and moved the basketball, knocked down shots,” coach Mike Anderson said. “When you knock down shots, it makes things a lot easier.”

Missouri finished the game hitting 14 of 29 attempts from 3-point land, compared to Oregon’s 4 of 18 beyond the arc.

The Tigers got hot shooting 3-pointers from the start of the game, with senior guard Zaire Taylor draining one for the game’s first points. Taylor ended the game hitting 4 of 5 3-point attempts and finishing with 16 points, one behind team leader sophomore guard Marcus Denmon, who also hit four 3-pointers.

“Coach always says take the good shots, and those were the shots that were available,” Denmon said. “I’m confident to step in and be able to come in and knock some of those shots that are open looks that we are getting.”

Denmon helped spark Missouri’s offensive outburst in the first half. The Tigers held a 12-8 lead eight minutes into the game before going on a 10-0 run.

It was then Missouri turned on the afterburners and left Oregon in the dust. Denmon hit three straight attempts from 3-point land and finished the half 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.

“I just thought it was a team that was in a good place,” Oregon coach Ernie Kent said of Missouri. “They got into a good rhythm and they shot the ball extremely well.”

Going into the game, the Tigers were having difficulty hitting any shots, let alone 3-pointers. After not getting higher than 43.3 percent from the field in its last three contests, Missouri shot 57.8 percent against the Ducks — a season high.

“I thought the ball movement was better, great ball movement,” Anderson said. “Guys were knocking shots and finishing off plays.”

The hot shooting helped Missouri reach the century mark in points for the second time this season, only two games removed from a season-low total of 52 against Richmond.

The Tigers cooled off somewhat from 3-point land in the second half, with their percentage falling from 52.9 to 41.7, but the damage was already done. Oregon came out fast to start the second half, but Missouri’s big halftime lead kept the Ducks in Missouri’s rearview mirror.

For Missouri, the game ended the same way it started. Junior guard Jarrett Sutton put the finishing touches on the victory by hitting a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left in the game for Missouri’s last points.

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