Texas Tech shot down by the Tigers

The team has won 14 consecutive games at Mizzou Arena.
Freshman forward Laurence Bowers fights for a rebound with Texas Tech's Michael Prince on Saturday at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers began the game with a flourish, scoring more than 50 points in the first half for just the second time all season and cruised to a 97-86 victory over the Red Raiders.

Just as quickly as Texas Tech won the opening tip and looked to take an early advantage with an easy layup, Missouri senior guard J.T. Tiller swooped in to block the finger roll.

When the Red Raiders tried to get to the bucket on their next possession, Tiller stepped in again, this time intercepting a pass and then leading a fast break to score.

"He's Mr. Blue-Collar," coach Mike Anderson said. "The guy's everywhere."

Active hands were the edge in Missouri's 97-86.

"Our whole mentality coming into the game was the defensive approach," Tiller said. "That's how I get my butterflies out. Get the team cranking and bringing energy."

Texas Tech turned over the ball 18 times in the first half as Missouri forced 10 steals and blocked five shots. For the second straight game the Tigers scored more than 50 points by halftime.

"We want our defense to make our offense," senior forward DeMarre Carroll said. "We like to have chaos, a crazy chaos."

Freshman guard Kim English provided the spark Missouri needed early by hitting two 3-pointers that helped put the Tigers ahead 10-1.

Freshman guard Marcus Denmon drilled a 3-pointer to start the rally.

Back-to-back steals then led to a two-handed dunk by Carroll and a reverse layup to put Missouri ahead 22-10.

Carroll led the Tigers in the first half with 12 points, but fellow senior forward Leo Lyons was right behind him with 11 points. After a one-game suspension, Lyons lost his starting spot to junior forward Keith Ramsey.

Lyons was able to make his biggest impact from the free-throw line where he went eight for eight. As a team, the Tigers shot more than 71 percent from the stripe, a place where they struggled all season long.

Both teams came out of halftime playing extremely aggressively. Although Missouri failed to open up a huge lead and put the game away, Tech also struggled to close the gap. Missouri floated around a 10-point lead for most of the second half.

With seven minutes remaining, Tiller picked up his fourth foul and took a seat on the bench, bringing in Denmon.

Denmon came in and missed a 3-point attempt, setting up a Texas Tech three, bringing the score to 70-77 and silencing the 13,357 fans inside Mizzou Arena.

Denmon quickly turned things around by scoring seven straight points. After a layup and two free throws, he received a pass about two feet behind the 3-point line. He hesitated, spotted up and drained the shot, putting Missouri up 85-70 and erupting the stadium.

"I'm always confident when I get a good look," Denmon said.

Carroll took over from there. He pounded inside the post, continually beating his defender one-on-one. Carroll finished the game with 27 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots.

The Tigers were able to hold off Tech's attempt at a late rally, showing they learned from their near-meltdown against Oklahoma State, where the Tigers let a 20-point lead slip to just a two-point win.

"We learned a lot," Carroll said. "Coach harped on us all week about not playing not to lose."

The Tigers have now won 14 consecutive games at Mizzou Arena, the most ever, and are 17-3 overall and 4-1 in the Big 12.

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