|Southeast Missouri State's Telvin Wilkerson, left, and Michael Porter, center, pull the ball away from Missouri's Marcus Denmon, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011, in Columbia. Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)|
No. 25 Missouri beats SE Missouri 83-68
COLUMBIA, Mo.—Ricardo Ratliffe and Marcus Denmon had 20 points apiece, leading No. 25 Missouri to a ragged 83-68 opening victory over Southeast Missouri State in coach Frank Haith's Tigers debut Friday night.
Kim English added 19 points and hit four 3-pointers in the second half, going 5 for 9 from long distance overall as the Tigers pulled away after leading by only two at the break. The Tigers have a 59-game home winning streak against nonconference opponents dating to the 2005-06 opener.
Tyler Stone, who got his scholarship pulled by Missouri after spending most of his freshman season on the bench, led Southeast Missouri State with 18 points and seven rebounds. Marcus Brister added 15 points and six assists.
Missouri entered the season ranked for the first time since 2003-04 coming off three straight NCAA tournament bids, although Haith is under a bit of a cloud facing possible NCAA sanctions dating to his time at Miami.
The Tigers lack height without 6-foot-9 Laurence Bowers, out for the year with a knee injury, and often had four guards on the floor, making it tougher to put Southeast Missouri State away.
Southeast Missouri State was picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the Ohio Valley Conference, is 0-6 against Missouri and 0-8 against ranked teams and has lost six straight openers. Plus, starting forward Leon Powell didn't play because of a knee injury.
Still, the Redhawks battled on even terms throughout the first half, opening a quick 7-0 lead and shooting 52 percent. They led by six with about 4 1/2 minutes to go before Missouri finished on a 12-4 run for a 38-36 lead, half the points coming on free throws and the go-ahead a basket coming on Phil Pressey's layup with 1.7 seconds left.
Missouri opened the second half on a 17-6 run and kept the game at arm's length the rest of the way.