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No. 5 Missouri staves off No. 3 Baylor, 89-88, in Big 12 showdown

Scott Levin's picture

With a feisty four-guard lineup, Missouri, unfazed by the harsh road environment, traveled to Baylor and knocked off the Bears on Saturday.

The No. 5 Tigers (18-1) moved into second place in the Big 12, sending the No. 3 Bears to third (17-2). Both teams continue to look up at the No. 7 Kansas Jayhawks (15-3), who are a perfect 5-0 in conference play. Kansas traveled to Texas on Saturday.

Under first year head coach Frank Haith, Missouri gave Baylor fits on both ends of the court with its speedy guard play.

Phil "Flip" Pressey, son of former NBA standout Paul Pressey, led the charge for the Tigers. The 5-foot-10 sophomore found cracks in the Baylor defense on numerous occasions. Pressey scored 16 points and dished out seven assists. One of the prime beneficiaries of Pressey's penetration was 6-foot-8 senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe, who posted a team-high 27 points on 11-for-13 shooting.

Pressey helped set the tone defensively as well, producing six steals and forcing six turnovers from his point guard counterpart Pierre Jackson of Baylor.

The Bears were led by Quincy Miller's 29 points, but Perry Jones III, considered to be one of the top talents at the collegiate level, was held in check. Jones managed just eight points in 29 minutes.

After a balanced first 20 minutes in which the Tigers took a four-point lead into halftime, Missouri upped its intensity level midway through the second half. Crisp ball movement and aggressive defense propelled the Tigers to a 76-64 lead with 5:29 left.

But Baylor would not go down quietly. As Missouri became focused on using the clock, the Bears clawed back, and Jackson led the comeback. The junior point guard, who finished with 20 points and 15 assists, scored eight straight Baylor points to bring the Bears within 81-77 with 50 seconds left.

Missouri answered the call, and it did so with its typical strong free throw shooting. The Tigers, who have two shooters over 90 percent from the line, knocked down 8-of-10 from the charity stripe in the final minute to keep the Bears at bay. A buzzer-beating three-pointer by Baylor's Brady Heslip made the final score 89-88.

Missouri's next challenge will be a road game at Oklahoma State on Wednesday. Baylor plays at Oklahoma on Tuesday.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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