Missouri's Kim English, right, knocks the ball away from Oklahoma State's Le'Bryan Nash (2) as Missouri's Matt Pressey, left, and Oklahoma State's Philip Jurick (44) look on during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) ORG XMIT: MOLG102
We wanted to, but we just never got to it, but a lot of it had to do with Missouri's defense. The pressure on the perimeter was some of the best we've seen all year.”
English, the primary Missouri defender on Nash, said he learned what not to do after the prolific scorer had a career night in their previous encounter.
“I really was focused on getting him off the blocks where he's comfortable,” English said. “I sniffed out some of their plays early and didn't let him get going early. With young, prolific scorers, if they make some baskets early, their jump shots get going, they get a little bit more moxie.”
The Tigers, who start four guards along with the 6-foot-8 Ratliffe, had a 37-29 rebound advantage, their first after being outrebounded by an average of more than nine boards the previous five games. But for a change, the defensive matchup was favorable against a team that starts three guards and also has no starter taller than 6-8. That big man, redshirt freshman Michael Cobbins, had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Cowboys.
Missouri's lead was so large that coach Frank Haith was able to put little-used reserves Jarrett Sutton and Andrew Jones, a tight end recruited from the football team early in the hoops season to shore up a thin front line, into the game with nearly 5 minutes remaining.
If seeking revenge for one of its only two losses this season was on No. 3 Missouri's mind, the Tigers kept that goal in the locker room Wednesday night.
“Just business,” English said. “But we definitely remembered how we didn't perform in Stillwater.”
Ricardo Ratliffe and sixth-man Michael Dixon both had 15 points, and English and Phil Pressey scored 13 apiece for Missouri, which is tied with No. 4 Kansas for first place in the Big 12.