Mizzou Basketball News and Notes 2009-10
Tip-off: 7 p.m. CST
Arena: Mizzou Arena - Columbia, Mo. (15,061)
TV: MSN - (Dan McLaughlin play-by-play; Jon Sundvold analyst)
Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly play-by-play; Gary Link analyst)
Rankings: Mizzou: NV/NV, Fairleigh Dickinson: NV/NV in Associated Press / USA Today Coaches polls
Series: Missouri leads 1-0; last on Nov. 29, 1975, 87-67 win for Mizzou in Columbia, Mo.
Missouri: Mike Anderson (Tulsa '82); 159-79 overall (8th season); 70-38 at Mizzou (4th)
Fairleigh Dickinson: Gregory Vetrone (C.W. Post, '86) 1-9 (1st season) at Fairleigh Dickinson
> Happy Birthday Coach Anderson! ... Missouri's Head Basketball Coach enjoys his 50th birthday on Saturday when the Tigers take on Fairleigh Dickinson at Mizzou Arena ... Coach A was born Dec. 12, 1959.
> Bobby Darin's Mack the Knife was the #1 song on Dec. 12, 1959, the movie Li'l Abner was released that weekend and did you know that Coach Anderson shares the same birthday with Frank Sinatra? How fitting since the Tigers are playing a team from New Jersey on Saturday and Sinatra was born in Hoboken, N.J.
> It's Finals Week at Missouri ... Finals for many students actually began as early as Thursday ... Due to the test schedule, Missouri won't play again until next Saturday (Dec. 19) vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 7 p.m. inside Mizzou Arena.
> Marcus Denmon continues his offensive tear as he tied a career high with 17 points for the second consecutive game ... Denmon is shooting 8-of-16 from three-point range over his last two outings against Oregon and Oral Roberts ... He is also averaging 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals during that same two-game stretch.
> Including Denmon, Missouri continues to get great play from its youth ... The Tiger are getting more than half of their 81.0 points per game from the sophomore class alone ... The second-year Tigers are logging 41.1 points per game ... If you add the freshman class, Mizzou is getting 63 percent of its scoring and 51 percent of its assists from underclassmen this season ... Only Oklahoma is getting more points from its first and second year players than Mizzou ... The Sooner freshmen and sophomores are scoring 57.6 points a game this season, just ahead of MU.
> Overall Missouri has played 34 non-conference home games under Mike Anderson and 30 of those 34 have been decided by double figure margins with the largest margin of victory coming this year vs. Texas-Pan American ... In fact, in running his record to 34-0 against non-conference teams at home, Anderson and the Tigers have enjoyed a 26.2 ppg margin of victory ... In four home games this season Missouri has enjoyed a 37.8 ppg margin of victory.
> Missouri owns a 23-game winning streak inside Mizzou Arena, which dates back to the home finale of the 2007-08 campaign against Iowa State … Missouri currently ranks #5 nationally in consecutive home wins and the current streak is the third longest in school history ... Missouri needs six more home wins to move into a tie for second place for the longest home winning streak (29) ... Today's color analyst, Jon Sundvold, and the Tigers won 29 consecutive from 1980-82 ... The school record is 34.
Mizzou Quick Hitters
> Mizzou Basketball returns home for back-to-back games as the Tigers open this brief two-game homestand against Fairleigh Dickinson at Mizzou Arena.
> MU hasn't played consecutive home games since Nov. 22 and Nov. 24 vs. Texas-Pan American and Chattanooga.
> The Tigers own a 41-game non-conference home court winning streak, which dates back to the 2005-06 campaign ... That 41-game run is a school record, topping the 29 consecutive non-conference home wins from 1979-83 ... That streak ended with an overtime loss to Marquette ... Missouri's last non-conference loss at home came against Sam Houston State in the 2005-06 season opener.
> One thing Tiger fans are enjoying this season is points off turnovers ... Missouri averaged 21.2 points per game off turnovers last season and forced one turnover every four possessions ... So far this season Missouri is forcing 21.8 turnovers per game and is averaging 29.6 points off those opponent miscues.
> Missouri continues to be one of the country's most efficient teams in 2009-10 ... One year after leading the nation in assists per game (18.4), the Tigers are dishing 17.5 dimes a contest this year ... MU already has six players with double-figure assist totals and as a team MU is registering dimes on 60 percent of its hoops (140 assists on 234 baskets).
> Missouri has topped 20 assists three times, including 28 dimes in the 106-69 win against Oregon.
> It's certainly early, but the Tigers sport excellent depth on their roster through eight games ... Nine different players have reached double figures in scoring and 10 different Tigers are averaging at least 10.1 minutes per game ... In addition, that depth fuels Missouri's pressure and has allowed the Tigers to reach double figures in steals in 6-of-8 contests, including a school record 24 thefts vs. Chattanooga on Nov. 24.
> Those steal numbers are ahead of last season's pace ... The Tigers have ripped 102 steals in 2009-10, higher than the 92 steals MU enjoyed last season through the same number of contests.
> Missouri continues to be outstanding at the free throw line this season ... The Tigers are hitting at a 71.5 percent clip on the year, compared to 67.2 percent shooting last season.
> It's hard to argue with the production of Missouri's bench ... The Tigers are getting 38.1 of their 81.0 points per game from the reserves ... Missouri's bench has actually outscored their starters in 3-of-8 games already this season and are outscoring their opposition's bench 31.8-to-15.4.
> Mizzou has had a double-figure scorer off the pine in all-seven games this season, including a season high three players in Saturday's win against Oregon.
> One thing about Mike Anderson's clubs, they are built for the long haul ... Over his tenure "Coach A's" teams have averaged 26.3 points per game off the bench... That's over 108 career games.
> It's nothing new to have the reserves outscore the starters either ... Including three games this season, the reserves have dropped in more tallies than the "initial five" 15 times (in 108 games) in Anderson's tenure ... It just goes to show you, when the man says he has eight or nine starters, it means he has eight or nine starters!
> With the Tigers' improved backcourt depth the team is averaging 12.8 steals per game on the young season, including a school-record total (24 steals) vs. Chattanooga on Nov. 24.
> Missouri has typically played some tough schedules over the years and that trend will continue in 2009-10 ... Mizzou has 14 games against teams that have been ranked / receiving votes in the Top 25 this season ... Included in that list are some impressive non-conference games (all away from home) against, Illinois, Old Dominion and Richmond ... While Oral Roberts isn't getting Top 25 votes yet, the Golden Eagles enjoyed an 83-81 win at Stanford on Nov. 19.
> In fact, of the potential 14 games vs. those highly-touted clubs only five will come at Mizzou Arena.
> J.T. Tiller has earned mention on virtually every preseason All-Defensive Team in 2009-10 … Tiller is of course the reigning Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12 Conference and was named to All-Defensive Teams by Sports Illustrated and ESPN prior to the start of his senior season.
> Tiller made his return from a bone bruise in his left foot vs. Old Dominion and distributed a season high seven assists vs. the Monarchs.
> Tiller has twice notched seven assists in a game, including seven dimes at Vanderbilt.
> Tiller has been in double figures in scoring each game since his return from injury, averaging 11.2 points during that time, including a season high 13 points vs. Oral Roberts.
> The Marietta, Ga., native has 250 career assists and needs just 80 dimes this year to move into the career Top 10.
> He also owns 123 career steals and 28 more thefts would push him into the Top 10 in that category as well, surpassing former teammate Jason Horton (2004-08), who had 150 … In fact his career steals per game average of 1.3 already ranks in Mizzou's career Top 10.
> Zaire Taylor will be asked to score more in 2010, but is known for his excellent ball protection ... The Staten Island native was one of America's top point guards a season ago and ranked among the Top 5 nationally with a 3-to-1 assist/turnover ratio.
> Taylor has wasted little time picking up his assist totals this year and has dished 27 dimes while committing just eight turnovers in his last seven games.
> Not only do Taylor and Tiller form one of America's best backcourts, but the pair is incredibly visible in the community and volunteered with the Children's Miracle Network Radiothon, which supports the University of Missouri Children's Hospital ... The duo answered phones on the phonebank and made special visits to patients.
> Laurence Bowers made his first career start at Vanderbilt on Dec. 2 while playing in front of numerous family and friends.
> Bowers has reached double figures three times this season and continues to be one of the team's most efficient players shooting 61 percent from the floor, while hitting both of his three-point field goal attempts ... The Memphis native is also a perfect 10-of-10 at the foul line.
> Bowers was a rebounding menace in the South Padre Island Invitational and was named to the All-Tournament Team for his production.
> Bowers tied a career high with 16 points in the season-opener and has set career highs in rebounding, steals and blocked shots already this season.
> Overall the sophomore is one of Missouri's most consistent players and is fourth on the team in scoring (9.8) and second field goal percentage (.611), second in rebounding (5.6) and tops in blocked shots (1.8).
> Don't be surprised by Bowers' efficiency ... That's part of his game ... The Memphis native maximizes his minutes played ... Last season as a freshman he was the team's most efficient rebounder and shot-blocker in just 6.9 minutes a game.
> Kim English enjoyed back-to-back career high scoring games vs. Texas-Pan American and Chattanooga ... English dropped in 25 points in the win against Texas-Pan American, before torching the Mocs for 26 points.
> English scored 21 of his 26 in the first half against the Mocs ... He's the first Tiger to drop in 20+ in the first half since Thomas Gardner scored 40 against Kansas in an overtime win in 2006.
> English has reached double figures in six of his last seven games, including another 20-point effort at Vanderbilt, a career high for the sophomore away from home.
> English is averaging 16.7 points per game over his last seven outings, which includes those three 20-point efforts.
> Marcus Denmon is nearly full strength after off-season knee surgery and has reached double figures five times this year.
> Denmon has been Mizzou's most consistent scorer with those five double-figure efforts and has been great off the bench this year, seeing his scoring average increase to 12.8 ppg off the pine.
> Denmon has tied his career high (17 points) three times this season, including back-to-back games vs. Oregon and Oral Roberts.
> The Kansas City native is shooting 44 percent from three-point range over his last seven outings and continues to be one of the team's best rebounding guards at 3.5 boards a night.
> The Kansas City native has twice tied his career high in rebounding this year and is third on the team in boards (3.5) and tied for first in three-point makes (17).
> Fans will notice a slimmed down version of Steve Moore this year … Since his arrival Moore had dropped 40 pounds and has now began to regain the weight in the form of muscle … Moore credits Associate Director of Strength and Conditioning David Deets with adjusting his eating habits, allowing the "Extreme Makeover".
> Moore turned that weight loss into production, as he has recorded career highs in virtually every statistical category this season.
> Michael Dixon made the first shot of his collegiate career in the season opener, swishing home a three-pointer at the 9:54 mark of the first half vs. Tennessee-Martin.
> Dixon enjoyed another "first" vs. Texas-Pan American, his first start, as he scored nine points, dished seven assists and committed just one turnover.
> Dixon continues to take strides in his first season and notched his first career double-figure scoring game at Vanderbilt, with 11 points and two assists on 4-of-8 shooting from the floor ... Dixon went for 10 points in the win over Oregon as well, while dropping three dimes in 20 minutes.
Series with Fairleigh Dickinson
Missouri and Fairleigh Dickinson are meeting for just the second time in series history ... The first meeting occurred on Nov. 29, 1975, in Columbia with the Tigers enjoying an 87-67 victory ... That was the season-opener for the Tigers and Bob Costas was the then Voice of Missouri Basketball ... Willie Smith led all scorers with 22 in that contest.
About Fairleigh Dickinson
Fairleigh Dickinson comes to Columbia with seven consecutive losses, including a 73-57 loss at Lafayette on Dec. 9 ... The Knights are under the direction of interim head coach Gregory Vetrone who took over just before the start of the season ... The Knights played very well in their season-opener at Villanova and trailed by just one, 35-34, at the half at the Pavilion, but fell to the Wildcats 84-61 ... Sean Baptiste leads FDU in scoring at 15.0 points per game ... The senior also ranks second in rebounding at 5.2 caroms a contest.
The Growing Process Effects Most
Missouri's freshmen and sophomores are scoring 51.1 points per game for the Tigers this season, which accounts for 63 percent of the team's 81.0 total points per outing.
> Those 51.1 points ranks second in the league, just behind the Oklahoma Sooners (6-3) who are getting 57.6 ppg from an underclassmen group that includes preseason National Player of the Year Willie Warren.
> It's incredible how similar the two youthful programs are this year ... While both teams are one year removed from an NCAA Elite Eight appearance and both lost players in the first round of the NBA Draft, the Tigers and Sooners have been dominant at home, but have all six of their combined losses away from Mizzou Arena and the Lloyd Noble Center.
> Missouri has actually been very close to breaking through on the road and in all three losses have been in one-possession games in the final minute of each contest.
Marcus Denmon has continued to be one of the club's most improved players and the sophomore has delivered career-high tying scoring efforts in his last two contests, with 17 tallies coming against both Oregon and Oral Roberts.
> Denmon is now second on the team in scoring at 11.1 points per game and ranks seventh in the Big 12 in both three-point field goal percentage (.425) and three-point makes per game (2.1).
> Over his last two outings the Kansas City native is shooting 12-of-24 from the floor, 8-of-16 from three-point range and is averaging 4.0 boards, which tops all Tiger guards over the last two contests.
Mike Anderson calls Missouri the "Ultimate Team" and through eight games MU's incredible balance perfectly illustrates his point.
> The Tigers have had eight different players tie or share for the team lead in assists this season.
> MU has had six different players tie or share the team lead in steals.
> Four different players have led the club in rebounding and four different players have led the club in scoring.
Mizzou Arena - Now A Home Court
With Missouri Basketball unleashing the Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball and the Tiger crowds responding, Mizzou Arena is now one of the nation's toughest homecourt venues ... Missouri ranks #5 nationally with its active 23-game homecourt win streak, tied for the third longest streak in school history.
> Kansas leads the nation with 46 consecutive home wins, while Utah State (37) ranks #2.
> The MU record for homecourt wins is 34, which was set during the 1988-90 seasons ... The 1980-82 teams won 29 consecutive, while the 1974-76 teams won 23 in a row.
All-Time Mizzou Basketball Homecourt Winning Streaks
1. 1988-90 34
2. 1980-82 29
3. 1974-76 23
4. 1919-21 22
6. 1987-88 21
Here Come The Men In Block
It's early, but Missouri's front line of Keith Ramsey, Justin Safford and Laurence Bowers are blocking shots and a pretty high rate ... MU already boasts 45 blocked shots through eight games and can begin looking towards the school records books for most blocks in a single season ... Since Mike Anderson's arrival at MU the high for swats in a year is 140, set in 2008-09 ... The school record is 154 set during the 2001-02 campaign.
> Missouri is currently blocking 5.6 shots a night (fourth in the Big 12) and Bowers' 14 (also fourth in the league) leads the team ... Ramsey (12) and Safford (6) rank second and third respectively.
> Missouri had just 29 blocked shots last season through eight games, so the 45 swats is well above that pace from last season.