Buffs battle 14th-ranked Tigers in Big 12 clash

12:21 PM, Feb 5, 2011   |    comments
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Columbia, MO (Sports Network) - The 14th-ranked Missouri Tigers will look to run their Mizzou Arena win streak to 14 games tonight as they host the Colorado Buffaloes in a Big 12 Conference heater.

Despite Missouri's run of success and national ranking, Colorado actually stands one game ahead of the Tigers in the Big 12 win column at 4-4. The Buffaloes will also have recent history on their side tonight, as they defeated Missouri, 89-76, on Jan. 8th. A win would give the Buffaloes three true road wins this season, their most since the 2007-08 campaign (three).

The Bears' current 13-game home win streak stands as the 11th longest on school history. A win tonight would equal the eight longest home win streak in program history. Mizzou Arena has been kind to Missouri for quite some time now, as the Tigers have won 48 of their last 50 games on their home floor. Missouri should relish a return to Columbia, as it attempts to halt a two game skid in league action. The Bears have not lost three straight league games since the 2007-08 campaign.

With respect to the all-time series, tonight's game mark the 152nd meeting between Colorado and Missouri. The Tigers currently hold a commanding 98-53 lead over the Buffaloes.

Colorado's victory over Missouri earlier this season kicked off a string of three straight wins to begin Big 12 play. The Buffaloes then cooled considerably, losing four straight games. Only recently did they recover, as they downed Iowa State, 95-69, on Feb. 1st, to move to an even .500 in league play. Colorado wins games behind a high-flying, playmaking offense. The Buffaloes score 81.6 ppg. During their four game skid, however, they managed to net just 67.7 ppg. A return to form was imminent and it came against Iowa State, as the Buffaloes racked up a staggering 95 points to leave little doubt in regards to the outcome. Challenged by head coach Tad Boyle to put together two good halves, Colorado did just that reeling off runs of 17-0 and 16-0 over the first 20 minutes and 22-3 and 10-0 after intermission. The Buffs shot 50 percent from the floor and 47.8 (11-of-23) from three-point range and placed five players in double figures. Alec Burks and Cory Higgins led the way, scoring 19 and 16 points, respectively. Burks and Higgins have now led Colorado one-and-two in scoring in 33 of their 55 games together, including 14 games this season. Burks is the true scoring threat. He has led CU in scoring in five straight games and eight of the last 10. Higgins will grab his third school record tonight. Already holding records for career free throws made (501) and career minutes (3,977), Higgins will start his 117th career game tonight, which marks the most starts in school history.

Missouri lost at Texas and at Oklahoma State in its last two contests to fall to 3-4 in Big 12 play. While the Tigers' home success is well established and earned, their road misadventures are equally as noticeable. Missouri is just 1-4 in true road games this season and 0-4 in league road games. A return home tonight should be seen not as a luxury, but as a necessity. During their recent two-game slide, the Tigers averaged just 64 ppg, well below their No. 6 national ranked clip of 83.1 ppg. As with other areas of their game, the production swells at home as the Tigers average 86.2 ppg at Mizzou Arena. Missouri is also shooting 48 percent and hitting 40 percent of its three-point attempts at home this season. The Tigers accrue their gaudy numbers through a balanced and efficient attack. They rank No. 9 nationally in assists per game (17.3) and record assists on 60 percent of their buckets. They have also placed seven players in double figures in two separate game this season. Marcus Denmon has been on the receiving end of many of those assists this year. Arguably one of the most improved players in the nation, Denmon ranks among the top eight in six Big 12 categories. The junior guard ranks seventh in scoring (16.7 ppg), sixth in field goal percentage (49.6), second in steals (2.1 per game), eight in free throw percentage (78.9), fifth in three-point field goals made (2.5 per game) and second in three-point percentage (47). He has scored in double figures in 18 of his last 19 games.

 

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