COLUMBIA, Mo. – Kim English scored a season-high 20 points, all in the first half, and No. 9 Missouri placed seven players in double figures in a 98-58 victory over Division II North Alabama on Wednesday night.
English went 6 for 7 from 3-point range in the first half for Missouri (14-1), off to its best start in 21 years. Justin Safford and Laurence Bowers added 16 points apiece.
Beaumont Beasley scored 13 points for North Alabama (6-9).
English was Missouri's leading scorer as a sophomore with a 14-point average but entered the game fifth in scoring this season on a more balanced team. He missed his only three shots in the second half as coach Mike Anderson featured his reserves.
Missouri had a 61-33 rebounding edge over the smaller Lions in its first regular-season game against a Division II opponent since 1996. The Gulf South Conference team had just one player taller than 6-foot-6.
Safford, Missouri's lone senior, also set a season high in scoring while adding eight rebounds. Bowers led the Tigers with 11 boards, and freshman Ricky Kreklow had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Ricardo Ratliffe went scoreless but blocked six shots.
Missouri took a double-digit lead before the first TV timeout and led 57-31 at halftime. The Lions converted seven of 15 3-pointers in the first half before Missouri ratcheted up its defense in the second half.
Missouri, one of the top scoring teams in the country at 85.6 points per game before Wednesday, narrowly missed topping 100 points for the third time this season. It shot 46 percent from beyond the arc as a team, tying a season high with 12 3s.
The Tigers open Big 12 Conference play on Saturday at Colorado. Anderson said he is uncertain when freshman guard Phil Pressey will return after breaking a finger in practice two weeks ago.