Game notes: Tigers get physical with Longhorns

Missouri went toe-to-toe with the best rebounding team in the Big 12.

Junior forward Justin Safford and Texas senior center Dexter Pittman simultaneously go up for a rebound during the game Wednesday at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers finished with an above-average rebounding total.

After running the floor against Texas for 16 minutes and taking a couple of hard fouls, Missouri guard J.T. Tiller felt like a senior — citizen, that is.

“Like an old man,” Tiller said about how he felt after the game. “My whole body hurts.”

In an overall physical game, Missouri went toe-to-toe with the best rebounding team in the Big 12, and though it ultimately lost the rebound battle 42-38, it did finish above its season average (35.8) and held Texas to just below its season average for boards (43.6).

“That’s been the thing all year with us,” senior forward Keith Ramsey said about rebounding. “We know Texas is bigger than us, so we’ve got to fight.”

Ramsey finished with 11 boards in 37 minutes as Tiller pulled down five rebounds in less than half of those minutes.

“Coach said you gotta to come out here and give it all you got," Tiller said. "That’s what everybody did and I just did my part."

Pittman kept quiet

Missouri didn’t let the presence of 6-foot-10-inch senior center Dexter Pittman deter it from attacking the basket on a constant basis.

The Tigers ended with 44 points in the paint and attacked the basket from the get-go.

In the first half, freshman guard Mike Dixon drove to the hoop from the left side and, after entering the air, promptly met Pittman. Dixon held strong and threw in the layup.

Pittman didn’t hit a shot from the field and played only 12 minutes, accumulating four fouls.

“We did a good job of just paying attention to detail, finding where he was,” coach Mike Anderson said. “We had people rotating in there and I thought our quickness really affected him. We were there and in position any time he found the basketball.”

Ramsey saw Missouri’s defensive intensity as one reason why Pittman struggled.

“I think it was our pressure,” Ramsey said. “Pittman was so worried about us doubling him and trying to get a shot off real quick. He just kept on traveling.”

Tiger tidbits

The victory over Texas is Missouri’s third-straight over the Longhorns — the first time it has accomplished the feat since 1997-1999. It is the first time Missouri has taken three-straight regular season games from the Longhorns since the formation of the Big 12.

Mizzou Arena was sold out for the game, but only an announced total of 14,389 showed up.

The Tigers distanced themselves from Texas in the Big 12 standings, as the two teams went into the game tied at 6-4 in conference play. With the win, Missouri is tied with Baylor and Texas A&M at 7-4 and in a three-way tie for third place.

Former Tiger football players Jeremy Maclin and Chase Daniel took in the game from the stands and received a standing ovation near the end of the first half.

Daniel was the third-string quarterback for the New Orleans Saints as they captured a Super Bowl title against the Indianapolis Colts on Feb. 7. Maclin is coming off his rookie season with Philadelphia Eagles, during which he saw action in 15 games and caught four touchdown passes.

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