November 18, 2008

Lyons leads Tigers to Puerto Rico

No rest for the weary, they say. If the Missouri Tiger basketball team isn't worn out after running Chattanooga out of the gym 103-75, they ought to be by midday on Tuesday. The team leaves for its tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico at 4 a.m., just seven hours after the end of its second game in three days.

"It was hard," Leo Lyons said when asked about looking ahead to the trip prior to Monday's game. "Puerto Rico is a lovely place and everybody wants to go."

All joking aside, the success of Missouri's season should be tied into their two senior forwards. Both looked briefly at the NBA draft after last season before returning to lead a Tiger team breaking in seven new faces.

"Leo and DeMarre, they're definitely leaders," said point guard Zaire Taylor. "As far as basketball, I look up to those guys. They help guide me, tell me to stay aggressive."

The Tigers will need Carroll, Lyons and all other hands on deck for their trip to San Juan. Mizzou opens on Thursday at noon with a game against Xavier. The second round holds a matchup with either Virginia Tech or Fairfield. The bottom half of the bracket is highlighted by nationally ranked Memphis and Southern Cal.

"There are a lot of good teams," Lyons said. "It's going to be real competitive. Five games in eight days, we're going to play a lot of guys."

"I look at it as good preparation for March," Taylor said. "It's a tournament atmosphere and we're going to go down there to win the tournament."

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