WACO, Texas -- Here are some quick thoughts from Missouri’s 89-88 victory over Baylor Saturday at the Ferrell Center.
Overview: Marcus Denmon’s free throw with four seconds remaining proved to be the difference in No. 5 Missouri’s victory over third-ranked Baylor. Denmon’s foul shot gave the Tigers an 89-85 lead. A 3-pointer by Baylor’s Brady Heslip at the buzzer didn’t matter. Ricardo Ratliffe scored 27 points for Missouri, which led by as many as 12 points late in the second half before Baylor made a run late in the game. Missouri shot 54 percent from the field, forced 19 Baylor turnovers and outrebounded the bigger, longer Bears 27-24.
The Tigers are now 18-1. Baylor dropped its second straight and fell to 17-2.
Turning point: Missouri used an 11-2 run to stretch a 60-58 lead to a 71-60 cushion midway through the second half. Ratliffe scored eight points during the march.
Star of the game: Ratliffe’s 27 points came on 11-of-14 shooting. Point guard Phil Pressey played one of his best games as a collegian with 18 points, seven assists and six steals. Freshman Quincy Miller scored a career-high 29 points for Baylor. Pierre Jackson had 15 assists.
What the win means for Missouri: This was one of the most impressive road wins by any college basketball team this season. Missouri had an excellent game plan that led to loads of open looks for the Tigers. Frank Haith’s squad has done a tremendous job of bouncing back from a Jan. 7 loss at Kansas State. Missouri is a legitimate top-5 team and is good enough to win a national championship.
What the loss means for Baylor: The Bears’ chances of their first conference title took a major hit. Baylor’s inability to rebound against an undersized Missouri squad was alarming. This team needs to get tougher -- fast. Scott Drew also needs to think about tightening his rotation.
Up next: Baylor travels to Norman to take on Oklahoma Tuesday. Missouri plays Oklahoma State Wednesday in Stillwater.