Missouri-Texas Preview

The Associated Press

After overcoming an off night from its potent offense to beat the Big 12's worst team, Missouri probably can't afford to have another one this week if it plans to keep winning.

The fourth-ranked Tigers could face a tough test Monday night when they visit the red-hot J'Covan Brown and Texas, which will be playing its fifth ranked team in six games.

Missouri (19-2, 6-2) was held below 40 percent from the field for just the second time all season Saturday in a 63-50 victory over Texas Tech, which remained winless in conference play. The only other time the Tigers were held below 70 points was a 75-59 loss at then-No. 23 Kansas State on Jan. 7.

Kim English had a game-high 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting Saturday, but the rest of the team went 12 for 36. Missouri still tops the Big 12 at 49.9 percent from the field and 81.9 points per game.

"We're a good-shooting ballclub, we just didn't make shots," coach Frank Haith said. "We had a lot of great looks. Does that make the game look ugly? But, we won."

The Tigers overcame their poor shooting by forcing 21 turnovers - their most since November - and came within one point of their fewest allowed this season.

However, that was against a Red Raiders team averaging a Big 12-low 61.9 points. The Tigers now face a Texas squad averaging 74.4 points, good for fourth in the conference and one spot behind an eighth-ranked Kansas team which visits Missouri on Saturday.

First, the Tigers try to avoid a second straight road loss. The home win over Texas Tech followed a 79-72 upset loss at Oklahoma State on Wednesday.

"We definitely wanted to bounce back and show growth," English said. "We talked all week about executing the offense and getting stops defensively. And when you can't execute, you still need to make stops."

That's something Missouri mostly failed to do against Brown the first time.

The Tigers beat the Longhorns 84-73 on Jan. 14 despite Brown hitting a career-high six 3-pointers in seven attempts and scoring 34 points.

He had the hot hand again Saturday with 32 points in a 76-71 loss at No. 6 Baylor.

"I didn't help my team get a win," Brown said. "I just didn't come through for them. Those shots I made, they don't even matter because we didn't win."

He's averaging 24.8 points over his last five games, but Texas (13-8, 3-5) is 1-4 in that span with each loss coming to a ranked opponent.

None of the last three defeats, though, were by more than five points. Saturday's game against Baylor was tied with less than three minutes to go.

"We fought hard and put ourselves in position," coach Rick Barnes said. "We just didn't finish it."

The Longhorns have won five of six at home in this series, including a 71-58 victory last Jan. 29.

Missouri, which has won four of the past five meetings overall, has split its four Big Ten road games but did win at Baylor on Jan. 21. That's the same day the Longhorns fell 69-66 to then-No. 7 Kansas for their only loss in 13 home games.

Ricardo Ratliffe led Missouri in the first meeting with 21 points while Phil Pressey and Marcus Denmon each had 18.

Ratliffe, held to eight points Saturday, has 52 points and 20 rebounds over his last two road games. Denmon averages a team-leading 17.7 points but has shot 29.4 percent in the last four games, including 5 for 28 from 3-point range.

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