A deep bench helped Missouri overcome an injury to its leading scorer and even its Big 12 record with a lopsided victory.
With Marcus Denmon expected to return to the lineup, the 20th-ranked Tigers will try to remain unbeaten at home Tuesday night against struggling Texas Tech.
Missouri (19-6, 5-5) had just one starter in double figures Saturday - forward Ricardo Ratliffe with 13 points - but still routed Oklahoma 84-61. Michael Dixon had a team-best 16 points off the bench and fellow reserve Justin Safford contributed 11.
The Tigers needed that help after Denmon took an inadvertent elbow from teammate Laurence Bowers with a little less than 18 minutes remaining. The junior guard, averaging 16.2 points, needed stitches above his right eye but should be ready for the matchup with the Red Raiders (11-14, 3-7)
“He caught a nice elbow and of course that’s going to happen especially when you’re in there where the action is,” coach Mike Anderson said. “I think he’s going to be OK.”
Denmon scored 20 points last season in Lubbock, and Kim English matched that output in a 94-89 overtime victory. While Denmon could match that performance, English doesn’t appear poised to do so this time.
The junior guard missed eight of 10 shots and finished with six points Saturday in his first start in three games. English was Missouri’s leading scorer in 2009-10 with 14.0 points per game but is averaging 10.4 this season on a career-worst 37.1 percent shooting.
Instead, the Tigers might have to rely on Dixon, who is second among Big 12 reserves in averaging 11.0 points. Missouri’s bench is contributing 26.5 points per game, while Texas Tech’s is averaging 16.9.
That’s one reason why the Red Raiders are next to last in the conference, but they’re also allowing a league-worst 75.9 points per game. That doesn’t bode well heading into a matchup with one of the conference’s highest-scoring teams (83.5 ppg).
Texas Tech is hoping to salvage the finale of a four-game stretch against ranked teams. The Red Raiders lost the first two of those matchups by a combined 38 points but fell 70-67 on Saturday to then-No. 22 Texas A&M.
Texas Tech jumped out to an 18-8 lead in that game despite a calf injury that limited Mike Singletary to four minutes. Singletary, who averages 13.2 points overall and has scored 14.3 points per game on 50.0 percent shooting in three losses to Missouri, is questionable for this game.
“(Singletary only playing four minutes) affected us a lot,” guard David Tairu said. “It’s huge because Mike Singletary is a leader on this team along with (leading scorer) John Roberson.
Roberson, averaging 13.4 points, had a team-best 25 in the third consecutive defeat to Missouri last season, and Brad Reese scored a then-career high 20.
Stopping that streak could prove difficult with the Tigers having won 15 consecutive home games. The Red Raiders, meanwhile, are 1-6 on the road, beating only last-place Iowa State.
Missouri has won five of six at home versus Texas Tech and leads the all-time series 11-8.