Feb. 23, 2011
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Ricardo Ratliffe heard plenty of trash talk right after tipoff. Then Missouri's forward silenced Baylor's big men.
"Yeah, they're weak, they're small," Ratliffe said he overheard from J'mison Morgan, who scored on a putback for the first basket. "Then we started getting more aggressive and he started kind of being friendly with me.
"I guess they thought we were soft at first, so once we proved them wrong they just started being on our side, congratulating us."
Ratliffe narrowly missed a double-double in the first half and Laurence Bowers scored 18 of his 20 points in the second and had six steals in the 20th-ranked Tigers' 77-59 victory on Wednesday night.
Kim English was 4 for 6 from 3-point range and had 16 points for the Tigers (22-6, 8-5), who are the Big 12's only unbeaten team at home (17-0). They've had at least a 15-point second half lead in 12 of the last 13 games.
"It was a lot of guys, and especially in the second half," English said. "It's a thing of beauty when we do it the right way."
LaceDarius Dunn, who leads the conference with a 20.8 average, was scoreless in the first half for Baylor (17-10, 6-7) and finished with 12 points on 4-for-14 shooting with six turnovers. Perry Jones III had 10 points and 10 rebounds, rallying late after a 2-for-10 shooting start.
"I wasn't frustrated," Dunn said. "Any given moment I can have an outburst. They did a great job of containing me, give them credit."
Stopping Dunn was a pre-game priority for Missouri, with guard Marcus Denmon getting most of the work.
"Just finding him everywhere he was, making him take tough shots and staying in his stomach," Denmon said. "It was something I was kind of looking forward to. It was a challenge for me."
Ratliffe had eight of his 10 points and 12 of his 13 rebounds in the first half. He has five double-doubles, asserting himself with two in the last three games after totaling seven rebounds over the previous three-game stretch.
"I know some of those guys are projected to go to the NBA, so I figured I'd just rise to the occasion," Ratliffe said. "I just tried to step it up to their level.
"I've just been trying to stay on the floor, play smarter and be productive."
Ratliffe said he complimented Morgan after a good block, but added, "he complimented me like five times."
Bowers missed the last 7 minutes of the first half with two fouls. He was 7 for 8 in the second half with six of his nine rebounds and became the seventh player in school history to score 20 points with at least six steals.
Phil Pressey was scoreless on 0-for-7 shooting but had six assists and a steal.
Missouri led by 16 points late in the first half before Stargell Love made a desperation 3-pointer from just across the midcourt line at the buzzer to make it 33-20. Baylor twice cut the deficit to eight early in the second half before fading, and committed 21 turnovers.
Coach Scott Drew said players weren't accustomed to Missouri's pressure.
"You look at the Big 12 and with a lot of teams it's a halfcourt game," Drew said. "They try to take you out of your offense and get into a lot of transition and that's different."
Missouri had a 36-34 rebounding edge against a school that goes 6-11, 6-11 and 6-10 on its front line. Baylor has lost three of four and has been outrebounded in all three losses.
"To win on the boards it feels good, because we've been getting beat on the boards a lot," Bowers said. "I just thought our defensive effort was unreal."
Dunn made it to double figures for the 31st straight game but was 4 for 14 and endured his first scoreless half since Dec. 15, 2009 against Jackson State. A 39 percent 3-point shooter entering the game, he was just 2 for 8 against Missouri and is 10 for 44 the last five games.
Missouri has beaten Baylor 10 straight times at home, with the Bears' last victory in 1948.
Quincy Acy had 13 points and nine rebounds and Morgan had 10 points for Baylor, which topped its season scoring low by only two points. It was only the third time Morgan reached double figures and first in conference play.