Last season at Colorado, Missouri needed a big second half to pull out a victory. The Tigers have had plenty of those this season.
Searching for 10 wins in Big 12 play for the first time in nine seasons and a sixth straight victory, 11th-ranked Missouri will try to dispatch the conference’s last-place team Saturday when it visits the Buffaloes.
Last place in the Big 12 is where Colorado ended up last season, but it gave the Tigers all they could handle in Boulder. Missouri trailed by 13 before outscoring the Buffaloes 29-12 over the final 9:53 for a 66-62 win. While Missouri had lost three in a row and five straight on the road coming into that game, the Tigers head into Saturday’s meeting having won their last two road games and five straight overall.
During that streak, Missouri (22-4, 9-2) has been outscored by six points in the first half but outscored opponents by 66 over the final 20 minutes. The Tigers have won three of those games by at least 14 points, and rallied from halftime deficits to beat ranked teams Texas and Kansas in the other two.
In their latest victory at Nebraska last Saturday, Missouri turned a six-point halftime lead into a 70-47 blowout thanks to a 27-8 run in the second half.
“If you’ve watched us throughout the year, we’re more of a second-half team,” said Missouri coach Mike Anderson, whose program hasn’t won 10 games in the Big 12 since 1999-00. “We had one of those spurts, and boy, I’ll tell you what, if you could bottle it up, you’d win all the time.”
The Tigers have one of the country’s top offenses at 82.8 points per game and defensively, they are among the nation’s leaders in forcing turnovers at 19.5 per contest.
Colorado (9-16, 1-10) averages a conference-low 58.9 points and has the Big 12’s worst shooting defense at 49.9 percent.
All of those numbers could mean a similar outcome to the Jan. 14 meeting at Mizzou Arena, where the Tigers shot a season-best 63.3 percent and went 12-of-20 from 3-point range in a 107-62 win - their fifth straight over the Buffaloes.
Six Missouri players scored in double figures and DeMarre Carroll, averaging 21.1 points over his last eight games, had one of his three double-doubles this season with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Tigers forced the Buffaloes into 26 turnovers - nearly double their current average (14.0).
That game began a stretch during which Missouri has gone 9-1 while Colorado has gone 1-10, including losses in its last six.
The Buffaloes tied their season-worst shooting performance at 31.0 percent in a 47-41 defeat at Nebraska on Wednesday night, but trailed by single digits the entire game.
“We had every opportunity to seize the lead, but we couldn’t finish,” Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik told the school’s official Web site. “We put ourselves in position to win. … We had some empty possessions. It wasn’t anything they did; it was what we didn’t do.”
Cory Higgins was the only Colorado player in double figures with 12 points, and he leads the team with 17.6 per game.
While the Buffaloes have an 0-8 road record this season, they are 8-6 at home. Two of their last three home losses have been in overtime and the other was by two points.
Missouri leads the series 95-52, but Colorado holds a 33-28 edge in Boulder.