Dixon comes through as Mizzou holds off Iowa State, 78-72

Dixon’s 21 helps seniors leave Mizzou Arena with final home win

Story by Kaveh Kaghazi

Photos by Ryan Williams

Michael Dixon celebrates with Phil Pressey during Missouri's 78-72 win at Mizzou Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. Dixon scored a game-high 21 points on eight of 10 shooting.

On a night when eight seniors from Missouri’s winningest class in school history were honored, it was junior Michael Dixon who shined brightest.

Five Missouri players scored in double figures, including a game-high 21 points from Dixon as the No. 7 Tigers held off Iowa State, 78-72, Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena.

After a tough outing in Lawrence, Kan. Saturday, when the junior failed to get a shot off at the end of overtime, Dixon came through for his teammates Wednesday. Dixon ignited Missouri down the stretch, scoring 15 second-half points, and icing the game at the free-throw line in the closing seconds.

“I think [Dixon] was a little shook after the Kansas game,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said. “I think he felt like he struggled late in that ball game and he was determined to come back and play.”

The Tigers looked tight early, falling behind Iowa State (21-9, 11-6) by as many as eight points in the first half. Cyclones’ sophomore forward Royce White gave Missouri fits, finishing with 20 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

“He’s such a dynamic and different kind of player,” Missouri forward Kim English said. “He’s definitely a tough matchup.”

White came into Wednesday’s game as one of the better all-around players in the Big 12, averaging close to 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists per game. The Tigers found a way to contain White as the game went on, holding the 270-pounder scoreless in the final 12 minutes.

“We were tight,” Haith said. “But give these guys credit. We turned our defense up.”

Trailing by five with 13:34 remaining, Dixon sparked a 13-7 Missouri run with a number of key plays, including a coast-to-coast drive down the court through three Iowa State defenders that resulted in a basket, and a foul.

“The shots that he made were critical to us having some success…he kind of loosened things up by making those shots,” Haith said.

Seconds later, Missouri regained the lead when Dixon found a streaking English for an easy layup that made it 60-59 with 8:16 to play. The Tigers (26-4, 13-4) never trailed again. Point guard Phil Pressey found a wide-open Steve Moore down the court with under a minute to go for a two-handed slam that sealed the win and sent the crowd at Mizzou Arena into a frenzy.

Senior Marcus Denmon gives his senior speech to the crowd after the game at Mizzou Arena. Denmon tied Melvin Booker for sixth all-time in scoring in Missouri history with 1,697 career points Wednesday night.

Pressey had four assists Wednesday, breaking Missouri’s single-season assists record of 181 set by Anthony Peeler in 1989-1990.

English finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, and three assists in his final game at Mizzou Arena.

Senior guard Marcus Denmon followed up his 28-point performance at Kansas with 14 points and seven rebounds, tying him with Melvin Booker for sixth all-time in career scoring at Missouri. Forward Ricardo Ratliffe capped his Missouri career with 16 points on six for nine shooting.

Missouri closes out its regular season Saturday in Lubbock, Texas against Texas Tech before getting set for the Big 12 conference tournament in Kansas City next weekend. The Tigers clinched a No. 2 seed in the tournament with Wednesday’s victory.


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One response to “Dixon comes through as Mizzou holds off Iowa State, 78-72

  1. Pingback: KC SportsNation » The Big 12 Today 3/3/12: The Weekend Slate (Previews and links) and the Week that was (links, highlights) » KC SportsNation

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