Dixon's shooting show improves No. 10 Tigers to 11-0
At 11-0, the Tigers are off to their best start in two decades.
Dec. 18, 2011
At one point Sunday at Mizzou Arena, the No. 10 Missouri men's basketball team led visiting William & Mary 19-0. At another, senior reserve guard Michael Dixon was celebrating his career high in points. And in a final stop, the Tigers matched their best record in 20 years.
Behind a career-high 30-point performance from Dixon, Missouri cruised past William & Mary 94-56 to improve to 11-0. It marks the best start the Tigers have had since 1991, when the legendary Norm Stewart manned the sidelines at the Hearnes Center.
Dixon's previous career high in points was 19, notched earlier this month in a win over Northwestern State. He was 13-of-19 shooting from the floor Sunday, which 3-of-7 from three-point territory. He also notched a game-high three steals.
"It's not who starts the game, and every coach says this, it's who finishes, and I imagine (Dixon will) be in there a lot in late-game because he's an excellent free throw shooter," Missouri coach Frank Haith said. "Mike has really bought into the role. "
Dixon scored eight quick points to will the Tigers to a 19-0 lead.
Soon, the Tigers led 44-18 at halftime. The Tribe made just five baskets the entire first half.
"I thought defensively we were really, really good in the first half," Haith said. "And then you know, a team's going to make some shots."
William & Mary would find its spark early in the second half, when a 13-4 run pulled Missouri's advantage down to 56-38. Haith called a timeout to regain focus.
The Tigers took the focus and ran all the way to a 50-point half to reach 90 points or better for a second consecutive game. The Tigers have scored better than 80 points in all 11 wins this season.
Aiding Dixon in the scoring output was senior forward Kim English, who punched in 17 points on 9-of-9 shooting from the free throw line. Seniors Ricardo Ratliffe and Matt Pressey also reached double figures in points with 11 a piece.
The highlight of the game came when senior forward Andrew Jones, a tight end on the football team that recently joined the basketball squad, scored his first two points of the season on late free throws.
At 11-0, the Tigers are one of seven unbeaten teams remaining in Division 1. Missouri will take on rival No. 19 Illinois on Thursday in St. Louis.