Despite injuring his ankle 10 days ago at Iowa State, a bloodied lip was all that could slow down J'Covan Brown against No. 9 Missouri on Saturday.
Brown scored 34 points, including the 1,000th of his career, for Texas (12-5, 2-2 Big 12) in its 84-73 loss to the Tigers. Converting a career-high 6 of 7 attempts from behind the 3-point arc, Brown helped the Longhorns get within five points midway through the second half after being down by as many as 16 in the first half.
"We've got to figure out, when he's got it going, you go to him every single time. You don't even think about going away from him," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "But we've got to have everybody. We don't have the room for error where we can have guys not being able to play. Our post guys have got to give us more than they gave us tonight."
After hitting two free throws with 9:36 remaining to make the score 62-57, Missouri's Phil Pressey responded with a 3-pointer and forced Brown into a foul in transition with 8:54 left. Pressey's arm caught Brown below his chin, causing a bloodied lip.
After Brown went to the bench to be treated, Pressey made the two free throws and followed with a steal and a breakaway dunk to raise the lead to 69-57. Brown added nine points after his injury but Texas couldn't climb back to within 10 points the rest of the way.
Brown's point total is a record for an opponent at the Mizzou Arena, which opened in 2004, topping Julian Wright's 33 points for Kansas in 2007.
"I was just going, just playing. I wasn't worried about carrying my team," Brown said. "Coach was calling my number and I was just making big shots."
Pressey's seven consecutive points in the second half were part of his 18-point effort that helped Missouri (16-1, 3-1) stave off its first home loss of the season.
Pressey had 10 assists, reaching double figures for the fourth time this season and the first in conference play. Missouri is 10-0 at home, all the victories by double digits.
"He orchestrated the whole game," Barnes said. "Look what he did for the other guys. That's what he does. He makes the game really easy for those other guys."
Ricardo Ratliffe made his first eight shots and had 21 points and Marcus Denmon had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers. Ratliffe, who takes all his shots close to the basket, entered the game leading the nation in shooting at 76.8 percent.
"I just make sure I try to finish the play whenever they look for me," Ratliffe said. "I get down on myself sometimes and my teammates pick me up because I think they don't expect me to miss anymore, either."
Myck Kabongo had 12 points and 10 assists and Jonathan Holmes had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Longhorns. But Clint Chapman had six points in 16 minutes while saddled with foul trouble and Sheldon McClellan, Texas' second-leading scorer with an 11.8-point average, was held to six points on 2-for-8 shooting.
"It was just silly turnovers, and not capitalizing off our turnovers," Kabongo said. "We've just got to be smarter than what we were today."
Pressey reached double figures in assists for the fourth time this season and the first in conference play. It helped Missouri go to 10-0 at home, and this was the closest call.
"I tell you what, he had a terrific game," Missouri coach Frank Haith said. "What he meant to us offensively, what he did out there was tremendous. He had the ball all the time."
Down by 16 points in the first half, Texas shaved the deficit to five midway through the second half with an 11-3 run — Missouri's lone points coming on a three-point play by Pressey.
Pressey ended the threat with a 3-pointer, two free throws and a steal and uncontested dunk in a span of 50 seconds to make it 69-57 with 8:31 to play. After McClellan scored from the baseline for Texas, Pressey fed Steve Moore for an inside basket.
Denmon was the only Missouri player who didn't score in double figures in the last game, a victory at Iowa State on Wednesday, with six points on 1-for-5 shooting. He had 14 points at halftime on Saturday.
"Even though the last game I wasn't scoring, you can do other things to help your team win," Denmon said. "That's what's most important."
Missouri was 8 for 11 from 3-point range in the first half, four of the 3s from Denmon, while taking a 43-30 lead. The Tigers were strong inside, too, with Ratliffe hitting all five shots from point-blank range.
Texas held its previous two opponents to 51 and 49 points, but Missouri blew past that total early in the second half. Missouri was just 2 for 10 on 3-pointers in the second half.
Texas had foul trouble in the first half, with Chapman limited to two points in 4 minutes and reserve Alexis Wangmene scoreless with four rebounds in 11 minutes.