Tigers turn attention to Kansas
Senior guard J.T. Tiller said he and his team were focused solely on preparing for Nebraska during this past week of practice. After taking care of business against the Huskers, Missouri has little time to bask in the glory of the win, though. On Monday, the Tigers will face a tall order when they travel to Lawrence, Kan., to take on their rivals and No. 3-ranked Kansas.
One thing stuck out in the mind of sophomore guard Miguel Paul about traveling to Kansas last year..
“The whole building was shaking,” Paul said. “It’s real loud and everybody is looking down on you.”
It can be tough to win on the road in the Big 12, and that will not change Monday.
“Kansas really feels comfortable playing (at Allen Fieldhouse),” Tiller said. “It’s just a tough environment to play in.”
Comfortable might be a bit of an understatement. The Jayhawks have ripped off 52 consecutive wins at home — best in the country. Coach Mike Anderson acknowledged Kansas’ talent but also has high expectations for his own team.
“They’ve got some players over there,” Anderson said. “They’re a very, very good basketball team, one of the top five in the country. You talk about a challenge that will be one of the ultimate challenges. But we want to go in there and see if we can get better. We know it’s going to be tough, but that’s why we play the game.”
The Tigers have maintained they fear no opponent but respect every team. It will be no different against Kansas.
“They have a bunch of different weapons, whether it’s (Cole) Aldrich, (Xavier) Henry or Sherron (Collins) himself,” senior forward Justin Safford said. “All around, they’re just a great team. So it’s going to be really important for us to play our style of basketball.”
Tigers extend their own home winning streak
As tough as the Jayhawks are at home, Mizzou Arena has been a nightmare venue for Missouri opponents. With their 70-53 win over the Cornhuskers on Saturday, the Tigers extended their home winning streak to 31 games — third-best in the country.
Missouri’s streak dates back to the 2007-2008 season, when it beat Iowa State in its final home game. The winning ways continued with last year’s 18-0 home record and the 12-0 start to the 2009-2010 campaign.
Defense clamps down on Nebraska
The Tigers did not have one of their finer shooting performances Saturday. The team shot just 39.3 percent from the field and 28.6 percent on 3-point attempts. While the offense struggled, the defense kept Missouri afloat and ultimately helped the team secure the win.
With close to 10 minutes left in the game, Missouri found itself in a drag out brawl with the Huskers. The Tigers held a narrow 47-44 lead but could not put their conference rival away. Then the momentum switched in a hurry.
“The last 10 minutes, that’s our 10 minutes,” Safford said. “And those are the 10 minutes when we really want to impose our will. And that’s where we get our second wind and really take it to them.”