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Missouri Takes Down Red Raiders To Advance
March 12, 2009
Championship Central

By Wendell Barnhouse |
Big 12 Correspondent

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The first three quarterfinal games Thursday in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship were upsets. No. 1 seed Kansas, No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 4 Kansas State packing their bags and heading back to campus.

Missouri, the No. 3 seed, made sure the upset trend ended.

The Tigers had little trouble dispatching No. 11 seed Texas Tech. Missouri took control late in the first half and dominated the second half in rolling to an 81-60 victory.

Missouri moves into the semifinals where it will face No. 7 seed Oklahoma State, which stunned second-seeded Oklahoma.

"Our league has been so balanced, what took place today is typical," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "Tournament play, it's a different feeling than the regular season. Teams have nothing to lose and they leave it on the floor."

The Red Raiders, who stunned Texas A&M with their second-half comeback fueled by Mike Singletary's 43 points, appeared to be rolling toward a second upset. Michael Prince's two free throws gave Tech a 23-18 lead with just under nine minutes remaining in the first half.

But from then until the intermission horn, Tech could only manage two field goals. Missouri was able to forge a 31-all halftime score.

"We had a chance to add to the lead but we just wore out," Texas Tech coach Pat Knight said. "We had enough in the tank for a game and a half. We stopped cutting, started settling for jump shots."

Singletary finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. His point total sounds puny when compared to the historic number he laid on the Aggies.

"It's always gonna be tough to follow 43 points, the zone I was in (Wednesday night)," he said. The Tigers' pressure defense took its toll in two ways. The Red Raiders had to work to bring the ball up the floor and that effort contributed to lapses on the defensive end.

"Their pressure took a lot out of us and I think the A&M game took every ounce of energy we had," senior guard Alan Voskuil said. "In the second half, we got tired and careless against their pressure. And on defense, we got lost on a lot of switches, we stopped following the game plan."

Missouri opened the second half with a 15-4 run that basically won the game. The Tigers forced turnovers on six of Tech's first 11 possessions. After establishing their pressure and a faster tempo, Missouri started scoring from point-blank range. During one stretch, the Tigers got layups or dunks on seven consecutive possessions.

"If there's a half you want to win, it's the second half," Missouri senior Matt Lawrence said. Lawrence apparently thinks the semifinal game with Oklahoma State will be played in Stillwater instead of the Ford Center.

"We've got them at their house," Lawrence said. "We'll have to match their intensity."

What Lawrence inferred and Anderson pointed out is that the Cowboys figure to have most of the fans dressed in orange and cheering for Oklahoma State.

"This game will be about energy and that's the kind of game we like," Anderson said.

* Thursday's quarterfinals were the most upsetting in Big 12 Championship history. The No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 seeds lost. The most high seeds to have lost in the quarterfinal round was two.

* Missouri has reached the semifinals for the third time and for the first time since 2003.

* The shooting percentages illustrated the game's lopsided nature. Missouri shot 55.4 percent while Texas Tech shot 36.4 percent.

* Nine Missouri players played at least 10 minutes.

* Texas Tech senior guard Alan Voskuil took a nasty spill in the second half when he collided with Missouri's J.T. Tiller as both were going for a pass. Voskuil left the game but returned later. "I'm fine," he said. "I'd feel a lot better if we had won."

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