Marcus Denmon had his second straight strong game from 3-point range, this time making six and scoring 28 points in No. 10 Missouri's 81-71 victory over Villanova in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-3 senior guard made seven 3s while scoring a career-high 31 points in the Tigers' last game against Northwestern State. He came into the game averaging 20.6 points and 3.3 3-pointers. On Tuesday, he was 6 of 10 from 3-point range, making all three attempts in the first 7:41 of the second half when Missouri (8-0) opened a 16-point lead.
Ricardo Ratliffe added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers, who last started a season with eight straight wins in 2006-07. Kim English had 15 points for Missouri, which cracked the top 10 this week in its first season under coach Frank Haith.
Maalik Wayns had 14 points and freshman Darrun Hilliard added 13 for the Wildcats (5-3), who have lost three of four.
The Wildcats used a 10-0 run capped by a 3 by Dominic Cheek to get within 61-55 with 9:52 left. They got as close as six once more, 68-62 on a rebound basket by JayVaughn Pinkston with 6:01 to play, but the Tigers went on a 7-1 run with Ratliffe, Denmon and English all scoring.
Missouri outscored Villanova 24-8 in fast-break points and that was a credit to point guard Phil Pressey, who had eight points and 12 assists — many when the Tigers took off after grabbing the rebound of a Villanova miss.
It was Villanova's sixth straight loss in a game against a ranked team.
Denmon scored 12 points in the final 9:20 of the first half as Missouri took a 42-29 lead. His 3-pointer with 6:12 left in the first half gave the Tigers the lead for good, 24-21. Villanova managed just eight points over the final 9:20 of the half when Missouri outscored the Wildcats 23-8.