January 12, 2008

Tiger notebook: Mizzou topples No. 12 Texas

At halftime, Texas coach Rick Barnes delivered a very simple message to his team.

"I said the game will be won by the team that decides to defend in the second half," Barnes said.

Unfortunately for the Longhorns, he was right. Trailing by two points at halftime, Missouri blistered the nets at a 70% clip in the second half on Saturday. Mizzou opened the second half with an 11-2 run and Texas never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.

"We didn't even try to defend in the second half," Barnes said. "We were horrible. We should probably apologize to them. They probably felt like they were at a shoot around this morning."

The shooting percentage, combined with a 15-of-21 performance at the free throw line, propelled the Tigers to a 97-84 win over the No. 12 Longhorns, easily their most significant triumph of the year.

"We've just been close. We haven't been finishing games," Mike Anderson said. "Hopefully, it's something that we're starting to figure out."

The Horns blamed themselves for the loss. While they gave Mizzou credit, Texas insisted it simply did not play well.

"Pretty much, we didn't play defense in the second half," A.J. Abrams said.

"I think there's a reason for the energy, especially in the second half: Fatigue," Anderson said. "I thought fatigue was a factor, I thought when we made our run, they really got tired, we started getting some cheap baskets…we started getting some open looks and we knocked them down."

"I think that fatigue set in," said DeMarre Carroll, one of six Tigers in double figures with 12 points. "Coach said at halftime, 'Guys, they're tired, they're tired. Go at them. You got D.J. Augustin playing 40 minutes, AJ Abrams playing 40 minutes."

"We could see that they were a little tired. They only play like six or seven players," added Jason Horton, who did not miss a shot of any kind in the game. "They even had to play the walk on kid who transferred from St. Louis (Ian Mooney). When you saw them putting him in, you knew they was in trouble."

That was putting it lightly. The Tigers blitzed Texas with their best showing of the season, moving to 11-and-5, 1-and-0 in the Big 12 Conference. It was Mizzou's first win over the Horns in ten tries.

Mizzou returns to action on Wednesday night in Ames against Iowa State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. The teams split two games last season with each winning on the road.

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