On paper, the Missouri Tigers won yet another game last night in a magical season no one saw coming. A closer look, however, and anyone who watched last night’s very close 67-66 win over Texas knows just how easily it could have went the other way. Thus the wise words from Frank Haith to his team — and specifically Michael Dixon — were the ones perfectly suited for the moment.
“There is no time to panic and no time to stress.”
Dixon heeded his words with an incredible offensive performance overall last night with 21 points that won the game for the Tigers. Better yet, he responded in the final minute to help the Tigers retake the lead after it seemed Texas was going to topple the Big 12 powers in yet another heartbreaking loss on the road.
Haith’s squad lost last week to Oklahoma State unexpectedly and it showed just how vulnerable even the best teams can be when stuck in the grind of conference road games.
“Coach has been stressing growth from the OSU game and kind of how we let that game slip away,” Missouri’s Kim English said after the game. “We always stayed true to that. We talked about late in games two things have to be consistent — defensive stops and offensive execution.”
Missouri learned something both in the loss and in last night’s close win. They’ll hope to continue to develop as they face tough games ahead, including the big match-up on Saturday against the Big 12 leading Kansas Jayhawks.
Michael Dixon's layup with 31 seconds remaining proved to be the difference as the Missouri Tigers survived to defeat the Texas Longhorns 67-66 in Austin.
Things nearly turned out much differently for Dixon who was whistled for a flagrant foul with 1:10 remaining and the Tigers holding a 65-62 lead. With Missouri trying to run the clock out, Dixon hit Julien Lewis with an elbow which resulted in two free throws for the Longhorns and the ball out of bounds. J'Covan Brown's jumper with 57 seconds remaining gave Texas its first lead since the first half at 66-65.
After a Missouri time-out, Dixon drove left and laid the ball high off the window to put the Tigers back on top. Texas took a time-out to set up the final play but was surprised when Missouri came out in a zone defense on the final play. Myck Kabongo missed a baseline jumper and Marcus Denmon grabbed the rebound as time expired.
Dixon led the Tigers with 21 points off the bench going 9-10 from the field while handing out four assists. Phil Pressey and Ricardo Ratliffe each added 13 points for the Tigers who improve to 20-2 on the season.
J'Covan Brown led the Longhorns with 20 points but was denied an opportunity to win the game when the Tigers switched to zone on the final possession. Julien Lewis added 12 points and Myck Kabongo 10 for Texas who falls to 13-9 and 3-6 in the Big 12.
The Missouri Tigers carry a 27-22 lead into halftime of a sluggish affair with the Texas Longhorns. The Tigers hit just 38 percent of its shots in the first half and are led by eight points from Phil Pressey and Michael Dixon.
Dixon hit all three of his attempts in the first half off the bench for the Tigers. Leading scorer Marus Denmon is off to a slow start with four points on 2-8 shooting. The Tigers' offense could use a bump in the ball movement category after finishing the first half with just three assists as a team.
Julien Lewis scored eight points to lead the Longhorns who were worse offensively hitting only 32 percent of its first-half attempts and recording no first half assists. J'Covan Brown has four points while Alexis Wangmene and Jaylen Bond have three each.
If the Missouri Tigers have anything to really worry about tonight in Austin for their game against the Texas Longhorns, it’s going to come in the form of leading scorer J’Covan Brown. Other than that, the Tigers should be just fine. That’s what the USA Today believes about tonight’s game, and that’s not too far off, just as long as Missouri can find a way to bottle Brown’s 19+ points per game.
The USA Today preview states, “Keep Brown at bay and Texas simply doesn’t have the talent to run with the big boys in the Big 12 this year. Obviously that is easier said than done, so expect the Longhorns’ star to get his, but for the Tigers to prevail just the same, as they put forth another balanced offensive attack.”
Missouri is 19-2 this season, so if there’s any team on the ropes from the outset, it’s the Longhorns. However, Oklahoma State showed just several days ago that any team — even a likely top seed in the NCAA tournament — is vulnerable on the road if the timing is right (or wrong). Frank Haith will have his team ready for the challenge ahead, knowing Texas is a tough place to play.