KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Phil Pressey and Kim English each scored 23 points, leading No. 5 Missouri past Texas 81-67 Friday night in a bruising Big 12 semifinal.
In the championship game Saturday, the second-seeded Tigers (29-4) will meet No. 12 Baylor, which upset No. 3 Kansas 81-72 in the earlier semifinal, ruining many fans' dream of a Kansas-Missouri title showdown. The Bears (27-6), swept in two games against Missouri in the regular season, will be seeking the first championship by a Texas team in the tournament's 16-year history.
Missouri, which is leaving the Big 12 this year for the Southeastern Conference and severing ties with some schools that go back more than 100 years, led almost the entire way while making it three in a row over the Longhorns (20-13).
English, a 6-foot-6 senior, was 9 for 9 from the floor when he hobbled into the tunnel after apparently hurting his leg in a collision with another player. A few minutes earlier, Texas guard J'Covan Brown, the Big 12's top scorer, went to the bench holding his head after crashing into a cluster of photographers behind the basket.
Both stayed out of the game only a few minutes, but English seemed hobbled a bit when he returned.
Brown wound up with 21 points after scoring only five in the first half.
Phil Pressey, whose previous career high was 22 points, hit his first three 3-point attempts to stake the Tigers to an early lead they never gave up.
Marcus Denmon, Missouri's two-time All-Big 12 guard who had 24 points the night before against Oklahoma State, was 0 for 10 from the floor and scored only two points. His previous season low was six points, against Texas.
After a 3-pointer by Pressey, Texas cut the lead to 67-57 on buckets by Brown and Clint Chapman. But Michael Dixon answered with back-to-back 3-pointers and the lead suddenly skied to 16 points with about 6½ minutes left.
Pressey had 18 points in the first half, combining with English to score 32 points and send the Tigers into intermission with a 39-32 lead. Pressey was 5 for 7 from behind the arc for the game.
Pressey's fourth 3-pointer at the 2:59 mark gave Missouri its biggest first-half lead at 39-26. But Myck Kabongo drilled an answering 3-pointer and Brown canned a free throw and a 12-footer as the Longhorns ended the half on a 6-0 run.
English, who had 27 points in Missouri's 88-70 quarterfinal win over Oklahoma State, was 6 for 6 from the floor in the first half after hitting his first eight shots the night before against Oklahoma State. He was 9 for 10 for the game and 3 of 4 behind the 3-point line.
After Jonathon Holmes scored inside for Texas, cutting the lead to 17-15, English led Missouri on a 9-1 run, driving in for a layup and popping in his second 3-pointer.