February 14, 2009

Second half is the Tigers' time

It may not have been Mike Anderson's philosophy verbatim, but it wasn't far off.

"Always said, if there's a half you want to win," Anderson said, "It's the second half."

Missouri has perfected that approach during a five-game winning streak that has put the Tigers in the middle of Big 12 title talk. In that five game stretch, the Tigers have been outscored by six points in the first half, trailing in two. After halftime, the Tigers have outscored their opponents by 66 points.

"We've kind of been a second half team," Matt Lawrence said.

Yeah, just a little. Perhaps never was it more evident than the last two games. On Monday, Missouri trailed Kansas by 14 points at the break.

"Some people probably turned their TV off," Anderson said.

The Tigers used a 46-30 edge in the final 20 minutes to win. Again on Saturday, Missouri struggled through a fairly miserable first half on offense. Though the Tigers were more productive than they had been against Kansas-or the first time they faced Nebraska, for that matter-Mizzou had only 25 points on the board at the break. They led Nebraska 25-19.

"Coach said the game was getting boring," J.T. Tiller said.

So Missouri did what they do. The Tigers turned up the pressure, pushed the pace and ran Nebraska out of the gym, winning 70-47. The key was a 17-6 run that turned a 31-25 game into 48-31 laugher.

Lately, a half has been enough. But the Tigers would still like to start a little sooner.

"That's what his style is made for," Leo Lyons said. "But we still want to play a good first half."

Eventually, they'll probably have to.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!