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No. 7 Missouri beats Iowa State 78-72

Missouri's Phil Pressey, center, looks for help as Iowa State's Scott Christopherson, left, Chris Allen, right, and Melvin Ejim, rear, defend during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, in Columbia, Mo. Missouri's Phil Pressey, center, looks for help as Iowa State's Scott Christopherson, left, Chris Allen, right, and Melvin Ejim, rear, defend during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
February 29, 2012
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COLUMBIA, Mo.—Michael Dixon scored 21 points to lead five Missouri players in double figures and the seventh-ranked Tigers beat Iowa State 78-72 on Wednesday night, clinching the No. 2 seed in next week's Big 12 tournament.

Dixon's driving layup with 3:36 left gave Missouri (26-4, 13-4) a 66-64 lead it wouldn't relinquish. Marcus Denmon followed with a 3-pointer and Phil Pressey had a steal and layup with 1:23 remaining to cap a 7-0 run for the Tigers.

It was Missouri's 13th Big 12 win, the most in school history as it prepares to leave for the Southeastern Conference next season. Finishing in second place would be the Tigers' best regular-season performance since coach Norm Stewart's final season, 1998-99.

Scott Christopherson scored eight points in the final minute, including a 3-pointer with 25.5 seconds remaining to close the deficit to 76-72. Dixon added two free throws with 15 seconds left.

Royce White led Iowa State (21-9, 11-6) with 20 points and nine assists.

Iowa State continued its hot shooting from behind the arc, draining 12 3-pointers after entering the game leading the Big 12 by averaging 8.9 per game. The Cyclones hit six in the first half and led 40-36 at halftime after trailing 7-0 to start the game.

After Missouri's early lead, Bubu Palo's layup with 8:50 remaining in the first half gave the Cyclones a 22-21 lead they kept until Dixon made a half-court pass to Kim English for an easy layup with 12:12 left in the game.

Christopherson had 15 points for the Cyclones, who lost for the ninth consecutive time to Missouri. The team shot only 39 percent from the field, but kept pace with the Tigers by taking 15 more shots from the field.

Iowa State held a 39-28 advantage on the boards, its seventh consecutive game outrebounding an opponent.

Ricardo Ratliffe added 16 points for Missouri and Pressey had four assists, giving him 183 for the season and breaking the tie with Anthony Peeler for most in a season for Missouri.

The Tigers honored their eight-man senior class before the game, complete with fireworks that caused a delay early in the first half when residue needed to be mopped off the court. The class has won 103 games, most of any in school history.

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