Missouri basketball continued its early-season winning streak Sunday with a blowout win against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at home. The Tigers improve to 8-0 with the 91-63 win.
The No. 11 Tigers let the non-conference visitors hang around longer than expected, leading by just two points at halftime. It became a tale of two halves after that, as the Tigers nearly doubled the Golden Lions’ scoring in the second half.
Missouri started the second half with a 16-1 run and then coasted to the blowout win. On defense, the team allowed just one shot during those first four minutes after the break.
Coach Mike Anderson blamed much of his team’s first half trouble on turnovers. While the Tigers can get away with such play in non-conference play, Anderson knows it won’t be good enough for the Big 12.
"It was frustrating for me to see the experienced players on our team give the ball up,” Anderson said. “You can’t do that if you want to win in the Big 12. Those are mistakes we need to clean up, and we need to improve our assist-to-turnover ratio before conference play starts."
The Tigers turned the ball over nine times in the first half and finished with 17 in the game. Arkansas-Pine Bluff had even more problems with ball control as they racked up 26 turnovers.
On the positive side of the stat sheets, junior forward Ricardo Ratliffe put up 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers. The double-double is his third of the season. Fellow big man junior forward Laurence Bowers can tell that the transfer student is becoming a post presence.
“I think Ricardo Ratliffe is finding his groove,” Bowers said. “Some of the shots he’s putting up, they’re usually money in practice. They usually go in. I think he’s more of a back to the basket player than myself or Justin (Safford).”
Junior guard Kim English scored a season-high 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting after being held scoreless in Wednesday’s game. Bowers also had 18 points to tie English for the game-high.
Even more impressive was that English posted those numbers off the bench. After his performance in the previous game, Anderson played a different group of guards. English accounted for 18 of Missouri’s 38 bench points.
English didn’t take the non-start personally, as he and the rest of the Tigers know Anderson’s philosophy on the starting five.
“Coach made a decision and he went with five guys,” English said. “He always stresses we have no starters. He doesn’t worry about the quantity of minutes, he just wants productive, quality minutes.”
Next up for the undefeated Tigers is a neutral site meeting with Georgetown on Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. inside the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
Bowers knows his team has to come out fast if they want to contend with the Hoyas.
“Georgetown is really good,” Bowers said. “They’re very experienced. We can’t come out flat like we’ve been coming out. Georgetown doesn’t have the same tempo as us, so if we can force the tempo and bring a lot of energy in, I think the outcome will be great.”