Columbia, MO – The second-ranked Missouri Tigers set their sights on getting back on track, as they welcome the Texas Tech Red Raiders to Columbia this afternoon, for a Big 12 matchup at Mizzou Arena.
Frank Haith's Tigers are coming off just their second loss of the season, as Missouri suffered a 79-72 decision at Oklahoma State this week. The loss ended a four-game win streak for Missouri and dropped it to 5-2 in league play.
Billy Gillespie's first season in Lubbock has been a struggle, as the Red Raiders are five games under .500 at 7-12 overall. A decent season heading into conference play has gone horribly wrong, as Texas Tech is winless in the Big 12 and brings an ugly seven-game slide into this contest. The team was last in action on Wednesday, a 69-47 blowout loss at the hands of Kansas State.
Missouri holds a 13-8 series advantage against Texas Tech thanks to wins in each of the last five meetings.
A lack of offense has certainly plagued the Red Raiders this season, as the team is averaging a mere 62.5 ppg. Those numbers have dipped even lower in league play, where Texas Tech is managing an anemic 53.3 ppg. There is no scoring depth to speak of on the roster. Jordan Tolbert is shooting a strong .566 from the floor, but it has resulted in a rather modest 12.8 ppg. Javarez Willis (8.5 ppg) and Ty Nurse (8.2 ppg) are next in the line in the scoring column. In the recent 22-point loss to Kansas State, the Red Raiders produced just 47 points, doing so on .375 shooting, including .231 from three-point range (3-of-13). The Red Raiders were also outrebounded 35-25 and turned the ball over a whopping 25 times, resulting in 27 points for the Wildcats.
The Tigers went scoreless for more than five minutes in the second half, turning en eight point lead into a loss in Stillwater. The loss spoiled another strong outing by forward Ricardo Ratliffe, who recorded his third double-double of the season with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Marcus Denmon poured in 17 points in the setback, but the usually strong shooting Tigers managed just 40 percent from the floor in the game, weighed down by an ugly 4- of-19 showing from behind the arc. It was a bit of an anomaly for Missouri when taking the season stats into consideration, as the Tigers are still shooting just over 50 percent from the floor (.503) and putting up 82.8 ppg. Scoring depth has rarely been a problem, as Missouri boasts of five players in double figures, led by Denmon's 17.7 ppg. Denmon is joined in the backcourt by Kim English (14.1 ppg) and the pair are lethal from long range, combining for 100 of the team's 158 three-pointers to date. Ratliffe (15.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg) has been a force down low and leads the Big 12 in field-goal percentage at .754. Michael Dixon (11.8 ppg) and Phil Pressey (10.1 ppg) round out the top scorers.