The Missouri basketball team improved to 6-1 Thursday night with a narrow win over Oregon on the road. The Tigers let a 20-point halftime lead fade away in the second half before escaping with the win.
The near nightmare in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series game comes after Missouri allowed a come-from-behind victory from Georgetown on Tuesday for their first loss of the season.
After trailing 44-24 at the break, the Ducks surged in the second half. The home team won the second half 56-39 and shot 62-percent with eight three-pointers.
Oregon cut the lead to two points with 5.3 seconds left before sophomore guard Michael Dixon made one-of-two from the free throw line. The Ducks missed the last-second heave to end it at 83-80.
“They just didn’t go away,” Dixon said. “That would have been what you call a hangover.”
Junior guard Marcus Denmon continued his dominance with the win, leading all Tiger with 19 points and eight rebounds. A total of five Missouri players finished in double figures.
Denmon led all scorers in the first half with 13 points to help build Missouri’s big lead. Then he had to watch it dwindle down to nothing.
"Those guys fought hard to chip away and just being in this situation, it was stressing me out the way this game was coming out," Denmon said. "I was just glad to get out of here with a win." Denmon is having a stellar start to the 2010-11 season, leading the Tigers with 16.4 points and 3.1 three-pointers per game.
The Tigers came out flying in the road game, showing no signs of fatigue in their seventh game in just two weeks. They shot 64-percent in the first half and led by 22 at one point.
The visitors were commanding the game on defense as well, allowing just 10 points in the paint from Oregon and forcing them to 12 turnovers. The Ducks were also blocked five times in the first half, three of which were by junior forward Ricardo Ratliffe who finished with four swats.
But Missouri’s busy schedule started to affect the team in the second half, as the tired Tigers seemed to switch places with the Ducks after the break.
Oregon shot 62-percent in the second half after shooting just 23-percent in the first period, while the Tiger shooting fell off the map.
"We wore down and they took advantage," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said.
First-year Oregon coach Dana Altman was proud of his boys’ effort.
"Guys did a great job in the second half, battling," Altman said. "I was proud of them in the second half. We've got a long ways to go."
Sophomore forward E.J. Singler finished with a career-high 19 points and led his team’s comeback effort.
For Missouri, Denmon was joined in double figures by junior guard Kim English with 12 points, Dixon and Ratliffe with 11, and junior guard Matt Pressey with 10 points.
Next up for the No. 8 Tigers is a return to Mizzou Arena for a four-game home stand. The first of four will be Vanderbilt at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 8.