Texas’ slide continues with 82-77 loss to Missouri
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP)—Kim English insists he doesn’t pay much attention when the home crowd collectively gasps with anticipation each time he touches the ball.
He’s also not fazed when the Missouri public-address announcer heightens the excitement with cries of “Time for English class!”
The 6-foot-6 sophomore from Baltimore, the Tigers’ leading scorer, always keeps things in perspective—as he did Wednesday night, when he scored 18 points to help lead Missouri to an 82-77 upset of No. 15 Texas.
“It’s still a game,” he said. “It’s supposed to be fun.”
English relied on an array of crowd-pleasing moves during an 11-point scoring flurry over six minutes early in the second half that helped break open a tight game. He hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, a left-handed layup, an acrobatic double-clutch and two free throws after he was fouled on a hard drive.
He capped the display with an alley-oop to 6-foot-1 Michael Dixon, who converted the shot and subsequent free throw after being fouled. Only later did English confess that he thought his teammate soaring to the basket was 6-foot-8 forward Laurence Bowers.
“I didn’t know it was him when I threw that pass,” English said.
Keith Ramsey added 12 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double for Missouri. Jordan Hamilton led the Longhorns (20-6, 6-5) with 24 points off the bench and Damion James added 18 points and 11 rebounds as the team ranked No. 1 for two weeks in mid-January lost for the sixth time in nine games and fell into a sixth-place tie in the Big 12.
Missouri (19-7, 7-4) raced to an 8-0 lead in the first two minutes as Texas turned the ball over on its first three possessions. The gap grew to 11-1 less than three minutes in, giving Missouri enough of a cushion to take a 32-31 halftime lead despite shooting just 30 percent for the half and making only one of its nine 3-point attempts.
Texas took a one-point lead early in the second half as the teams traded points with six lead changes before English’s scoring binge. Missouri led by 12 before Texas made three 3-pointers in the final 44 seconds.
Missouri coach Mike Anderson called English’s performance “the most productive 23 minutes he’s played here.”
“He let the game come to him,” Anderson said.
Missouri, which often relies on the 3-point shot as its primary offensive weapon, won despite tying its season low with just two treys on 13 attempts. The Tigers average eight 3-pointers per game on 38 percent shooting from outside the arc.
Texas center Dexter Pittman, at 6-foot-10 the tallest player on the court, didn’t attempt a field goal and was held to just two points and four rebounds. He spent much of the second half on the bench in foul trouble. Pittman also had several turnovers on traveling calls fighting through Missouri’s double-team defense.
“He’s playing way too fast and not getting himself ready,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said of Pittman, who came in averaging 10.8 points and 6.1 rebounds.
Ramsey, hobbled by a sprained ankle and held scoreless the past two games, had two of his biggest rebounds on consecutive putbacks under the four-minute mark give Missouri a comfortable cushion. Michael Dixon added 13 points for Missouri, which moves into a three-way tie for third place in the Big 12 with Baylor and Texas A&M.
Texas committed 18 turnovers and attempted just two free throws in the second half after converting eight of 17 in the first half. The Longhorns, who made 46.2 percent of their shots compared to 43.1 percent for Missouri, lost for the first time this season when shooting better than their opponent.
Freshman Avery Bradley added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Longhorns.
A weary-looking James said the Longhorns have no choice but to look ahead. They visit Texas Tech on Saturday and have five remaining conference games to get out of their funk.
“It’s tough,” he said. “We shouldn’t be in this position. But we’re not going to hold our heads down. We’re going to fight.”
The win was the Tigers’ third straight over Texas, the longest such streak since Norm Stewart patrolled the sidelines at Missouri more than a decade ago.