COLUMBIA, Mo. — Another rout at home, fueled by a deep bench, helped Missouri shake off a recent spanking at Kansas.
The 19th-ranked Tigers got 16 points from Michael Dixon and 11 from fellow reserve Justin Safford, improving to 15-0 at home with an 84-61 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday.
“Guys coming off the bench, they know what Coach is looking for,” Safford said. “And that's energy.”
Marcus Denmon, Missouri's leading scorer with a 16.5 point average, needed stitches to close a wound just below the right eye after taking an inadvertent elbow from teammate Laurence Bowers under the Oklahoma basket with just under 18 minutes remaining. He did not return, finishing with nine points, but is expected back Tuesday against Texas Tech.
Cameron Clark had 16 points and Tyler Neal had 14 for Oklahoma (12-12, 4-6), which is 1-10 on the road and has a freshman and three sophomores starting. Cade Davis, the Sooners' lone senior and second-leading scorer with a 12.6 average, was scoreless in the first half and finished with five points.
Coach Jeff Capel said players didn't abide by his halftime speech to concentrate on transition defense. Capel called a quick timeout after Missouri scored six points in the first 1 1 / 2 minutes after the break to take a 12-point lead.
“I don't know who that was out there for us in the second half,” Capel said. “That's not taking anything away from Missouri because they took it from us.”
Capel didn't believe it was just Missouri's depth, either, noting that minutes for the starting five were down from the norm, but not much with four starters playing at least 30 minutes and foul-plagued Andrew Fitzgerald limited to 23. In the previous six games the starters averaged 34 1 / 2 minutes.
“The pace of the game is very different from what we're accustomed to, but that's no excuse,” Capel said. “We have to figure out a way to be tougher.”
Oklahoma hit three of its first four shots from 3-point range, but finished 5 for 17. All but two of the Sooners' bench points came from Neal.
The Tigers' second-half spurt came after Capel talked to his team about defense at halftime.
"We talked at halftime about transition defense and valuing the ball," Capel said. "Then on the very first play, they reach out and take the ball from us and get a layup. We come down on the second play, take a quick shot, which I didn’t necessarily think was a bad shot, but we take a quick shot, and then don’t get back into transition. Right away they have four points right after halftime off of transition and we’ve turned the ball over."