January 24, 2009

Denmon, Carroll carry Tigers over Tech

For a moment, albeit a brief one, a feeling of deja vu had to have swept through Mizzou Arena. The Tigers raced to an early lead, stretching it nearly to 20 on a number of occasions. And with a combination of bad passes, porous defense and curious whistles, the lead was disappearing.

Texas Tech crept to within seven points of Missouri at 77-70 after a 9-3 run. Mizzou's opponent was aided, again, by a mind-boggling foul from a Tiger freshman. As Tech's Robert Lewandowski went up for a dunk, Kim English committed a needless foul. The three-point play helped the Red Raiders stay alive as they once again crept within nine points with 2:29 to play.

It all looked a lot like Missouri last game, a much-closer-than-it-needed-to-be 97-95 win at Oklahoma State. But this one would never get that close. After that dunk, Missouri held the Red Raiders at arm's length the rest of the way in a 97-86 victory.

"It got crazy there for a minute," Mike Anderson said. "I thought our guys showed some good poise...unlike the other night."

Perhaps the best thing about the Tigers' answer to Tech's comeback was the duo that made it possible. DeMarre Carroll and Marcus Denmon combined for 17 of Missouri's final 19 points in the decisive stretch.

It was that pair, by a combination of an intentional foul (Denmon) and poor passing (Carroll) who aided the Cowboys in their comeback earlier in the week. Not this time.

In the game's first 34 mintues, the freshman from Kansas City had scored all of three points. But he rebounded a Tech miss and made a layup on the other end. On Missouri's next possession, Denmon was fouled and made both free throws. Then, with 4:33 left, he applied the dagger. Just 12 seconds into the shot clock, Denmon let fly from 23 feet away on the left wing.

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