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Mizzou Links, 2-3-08 (Super Bowl Sunday!)

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Mizzou 77, Kansas State 74.  Phenomenal win.  Here's the box score.  Thoughts...

  • This is a contagious team.  One person does something great, everybody does something great.  One person does something horrendous...ditto...
  • Biggest stat of the game: Bill Walker and Michael Beasley combined for 20 shots.  They normally combine to average about 28 shots per game.  To me, that's even bigger than the fact that they only scored 22 points on those shots (1.10 per shot...season average: 1.46).  Volkus, Safford, Carroll, Lyons, and everybody associated with that zone defense, harassed and disrupted Beasley's game (without fouling!).  That, combined with the fact that KSU put it on cruise control when they went up 56-42, allowed Mizzou to seize control of the game late.
  • Mizzou's last two wins have come when they were down double digits with 14-15 minutes left.  Apparently that was our problem against NU--we were just too darn close the whole game.  This does show, though, that the urgency with which we play when we're behind should be what we strive for all game long (though I will say that we weren't playing awful the first 25 minutes against KSU--it took pretty decent effort just to keep them from going up 25)...and that effort and pace-pushing obviously starts with JT Tiller.  He was a beast yesterday...he wasn't asked to be the primary ball-handler much, and that obviously helped tremendously.  He was just asked to push the tempo whenever possible, and he responded well.
  • And seeing Tiller's face after his breakaway 3-point play that put Mizzou up 3 was easily the highlight of the season.
  • It certainly helped Mizzou that KSU had its biggest win in forever earlier this week.  This was a perfect candidate for a Letdown Game, and once KSU built the lead, they were incapable of maintaining intensity.  Happens all the time.
  • Good to see Justin Safford having a nice game (9 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 2 blocks, only 2 turnovers).  He looked lost and uncomfortable against Nebraska, but he seems to be responding well to more playing time.
  • It was Good Leo once again.  I was surprised to see him playing and even more surprised to see him leading the team in assists.
  • 12,229 in attendance.  They responded to the team's effort, then the team responded to the crowd's enthusiasm.  That's how home-court advantage is supposed to work.
  • We're still undefeated when shooting 60%+ in the second half.  2-0, baby.  Let's do that every game!
  • (Assists+Steals)/Turnovers Ratio: Mizzou 2.00 (22-to-11), KSU 1.19 (19-to-16).

Game stories!  Down but not out (Trib), Players return in wild win (Missourian), Brown and Lyons return from suspension in victory (Missourian), Short-handed Missouri shocks No. 22 Kansas State (KC Star), K-State at a loss to explain its loss (KC Star), A feel-good win for Tigers (Post-Dispatch).

When Bryan Burwell's not playing the "It's all Quin's fault" card, he's capable of writing some good stuff (though granted, this column was mostly quotes).

Mizzou 77, No. 22 Kansas State 74.

How's that for an improbable happy ending to an unbearably uncomfortable week? "Whew, I'm not going to tell you it was easy this week, because it wasn't," Anderson said. "It tests your faith. But I told my wife this morning, this is just like when you're waiting out a storm and you look outside afterward to see what happens next."

...

Anderson's no naïve rube. He understands that kids will do dumb things sometimes.

But that's not what ticked him off the most. What pushed him over the edge was that he treated his so-called senior leaders like adults, put his trust in them and they not only violated that trust, they lied to him, too. "We had just come off that incredible high of our first road win (66-62 at Colorado), and I had just told them about not going out and doing something stupid," Anderson said. "They had a curfew, and they all knew it. They were supposed to be in at (midnight). And then I get the phone call and to find out it was your seniors who broke the rules (four of the five suspended players were seniors), I was just like, 'No way! No way!'

"Yeah, I was mad, real mad because I kept telling them 'Give me everything. Regardless of what the truth is, don't give me half-truths. I want you to tell me everything.' But all they did every time we talked was to give me bits and pieces (of the truth). And this wasn't only once or twice. We talked to them at least three times, and each time, they didn't tell me the whole truth."

JT Tiller (among others) gets a nice write-up from Dave Matter.

"J.T. Tiller is a good player," Kansas State Coach Frank Martin said. "When he comes in, he attacks. He’s an attack-first guard, and he played that way."

Just ask K-State freshman forward Michael Beasley, a 6-foot-9 manchild and national player-of-the-year candidate. After dropping in a layup to slice MU’s deficit to two, Tiller stole the ball on the other end, dropped his head like a fullback and went right at Beasley under the rim, attracting enough contact to draw Beasley’s third foul and head to the foul line with a chance to tie.

Aside from the 3-point play, my other favorite Tiller play of the day was when he fouled Beasley to prevent the easy dunk.  Almost no other guard on the planet would have attempted that, much less succeeded at actually preventing the dunk.  That was an almost guaranteed 3-point play, but Tiller was physical enough to prevent it.

Other Big 12 scores.  Texas 80, Baylor 72.  Baylor was thumping UT in the first half before the Horns came back.  A&M 60, OU 52.  Another game that was tight throughout.  David Godbold had 22 points, meaning JT Tiller was not the least-likely 20-point scorer of the day.  Well...maybe he still was.    Tech 67, OSU 60.  Aside from a Cowboy surge early in the second half, this one was not close throughout.  Tech had a reasonably safe 5-10 point lead throughout.  Nebraska 64, Iowa State 56.  This game was totally determined by turnovers (ISU 20, NU 12)...everything else on the stat line was almost identical.  Kansas 72, Colorado 59.  CU was up 23-16 with 8:00 minutes left and should have just charged off the court in celebration at the TV timeout.  But did anybody see the dunk that that random white dude pulled off for CU yesterday?  Good gracious...

In Wrestling, it was #2 Nebraska 22, #11 Missouri 13.  Decent showing for Mizzou, but not good enough obviously.  It's Mizzou's first dual loss not at the National Duals.  I'll leave the rest of the details to The Beef on this one...

In Softball, it was Black 12, Gold 0 in the Black & Gold game.  We kicked butt!  Uhh, and got our butts kicked.  Jen Bruck was dominant (0 runs, 2 hits in 7 innings), and I hope that's because she's in midseason form, not because our offense is bad.  We'll see.  The Missourian has more.

Finally, if there was one headline you wanted to see after Mizzou's Junior Day football recruiting weekend, it would be this: Wingo Has a "Perfect" Day at Missouri.