Baylor senior guard LaceDarius Dunn leads the Big 12 in scoring this year. His 20.8 points per game made him the only player in the conference averaging over twenty points. But that was before he played inside Mizzou Arena.
The conference-scoring leader was held scoreless for the entire first half on Wednesday as the Missouri men's basketball team hosted Baylor. With the Bears struggling on offense, the Tigers coasted to a 77-59 victory.
“I think just finding him wherever he was on the floor and making him take tough shots was key,” junior guard Marcus Denmon said. “It was something that I was looking forward to just because he's been leading the Big 12 in scoring and its just another challenge."
Dunn would finish with 12 points, but that wasn’t enough to bring Baylor back after falling behind early. After a slow start, Missouri took control five minutes in and never looked back.
By halftime the lead was 33-20, and it would have been even bigger if Baylor freshman guard Stargell Love didn’t end the half with a half court three-pointer at the buzzer.
The Bears cut it to eight in the second half but the Tigers quickly regained control and led by as many as 21 points before the final horn.
Junior forward Laurence Bowers posted his best numbers of the season, posting two season-highs with 20 points and six steals to lead Missouri. The lanky Tiger also nabbed seven rebounds and two swats.
Joining Bowers in the blowout performance was junior guard Kim English. The slumping English found his stroke in this one, hitting four times from deep on his way to 16 points. As for the big men, junior forward Ricardo Ratliffe nearly had a double-double by halftime and finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
English loved the work from the Tiger big men in the win.
“They complement each other very well,” English said. “With Ratliffe being the inside presence that he is and Lawrence being that inside-outside guy, it reminds me of Leo (Lyons) and DeMarre (Carroll).” Ratliffe new he had to control the paint against the big forwards of Baylor.
“Coach has been challenging all of the forwards to get double-doubles, so we've tried to step up our game on the boards and it's been paying off the last two games,” Ratliffe said. “Some of those guys are projected to go to the NBA, so I tried to rise to the occasion and step up to their level."
Baylor had five players reach double figures in the losing effort, three of whom scored ten points. Junior forward Quincy Acy led the Bears with 13 points and nine rebounds. Dunn finished 4-of-14 from the field with a game-high six turnovers.
Missouri improves to 22-6 on the season and 8-6 in the Big 12. Baylor falls to 17-10 and 6-7 in conference with the loss.
Missouri has now won four straight and five of their last six. The Tigers are also 17-0 inside Mizzou Arena this year with just one home game left in the regular season. They remain the only Big 12 team with a perfect home record.
That final home matchup will be when Kansas comes to town next Saturday. But before then the Tigers will take road trips to Kansas State and Nebraska. Tipoff with Kansas State is set for 11 a.m. Saturday.