With Pressey dishing, English serves up a career-high 29 points for Mizzou

By Darren Hellwege

Ricardo Ratliffe scores a dunk off a no-look pass from Phil Pressey.

The Missouri Tigers men’s basketball team remained undefeated on the season as Kim English exploded for a career-high 29 points and led Mizzou past Binghamton 88-59 Sunday at Mizzou Arena. The win puts the Tigers at 6-0 following their recent championship run at the CBE Classic in Kansas City.

English had a spectacular game, shooting 11-15 including hitting on seven 3-point shots, and his was far from the only impressive line on the score sheet. Ricardo Ratliffe was a perfect 7-7, scoring 18 points, and while Phil Pressey never took a shot, the sophomore point guard had 11 assists, just two off the all-time Tiger record.

“I try to find the hot guy,” Pressey said following the game. “When they’re hitting, I get them the ball.”

But it’s the success of the team, not individual stats, driving this version of Missouri Tiger hoops. The selflessness of this team is a big part of their success and may have been best demonstrated when, instead of taking praise for his hot shooting, English expressed disappointment with his first-half defense. He spent most of the game guarding the Bearcats’ 6 foot-9 inch freshman forward Ben Dickinson, who put up 11 points in the first half. English seemed to take more pleasure from having shut down Dickinson in the second half, allowing him only four points, than in his offensive outburst.

Kim English (24) defends Binghamton's top scorer, Ben Dickinson, in the second half. Dickinson was held to four points in that half.

That kind of unselfish play is waking up echoes of one of the most successful teams ever at Missouri. When the current Mizzou seniors were freshmen, the Tigers of DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons went 31-7 and won the Big 12 tournament in Oklahoma City before advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tourney. That team was renowned for unselfish play and this year’s MU club is starting to show signs of a similar level of that key trait.

“When the top players buy in, when guys like Kim and Marcus (Denmon) pass up shots and give it to a teammate, it becomes contagious,” coach Frank Haith said. But English noted one big difference between this year’s team and his first in Columbia. “That team had total freedom. This team has freedom, but with some structure. I love it.”

When this week’s rankings come out Monday, observers expect to see the Tigers take a big leap from their current placement at No. 21 in the AP and USA Today rankings. With three wins this week, including the domination of nationally ranked California, they could probably end up as high as No. 15. It’s a bit unexpected, especially since the Tigers lost Laurence Bowers to injury before the year even started and few considered them a top 15 team even with Bowers. That may well be because of last year’s team, which lost 11 games and had a mediocre 8-8 record in league play before finishing with a first-round loss to Cincinnati in the national tournament

But in a rather interesting statement, Haith defended last year’s team. “This team went to the NCAA tournament last year. A lot of teams didn’t. Those who look at last year as a disappointment need to get over it.”

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One response to “With Pressey dishing, English serves up a career-high 29 points for Mizzou

  1. Pingback: KC SportsNation » He’s Baaaaaaaaaaack! English’s career-high sparks Mizzou rout » KC SportsNation

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