November 8, 2007

Tigers tune up with exhibition laugher

At halftime, Missouri Western had more turnovers than points. They also had more personal fouls than points. And that pretty much sums up Missouri's second and final exhibition game. The Tigers rolled to a 64-19 halftime lead in beating the Griffons 113-55.

"In a game like this, you try to find some things that you didn't do," Mike Anderson said. "Of course, there are some things we can work on."

They were few and far between on this night. The Tigers shot 56%, went to the free throw line 27 times in the first half and had five players score in double figures. Mizzou was also at full strength as Darryl Butterfield returned to the lineup. He had been suspended in the wake of a misdemeanor peace disturbance.

"Darryl completed all the things I put before him," Anderson said. "I made the decision he was ready to be part of our team again."

Another new face might have made the biggest impression of the night. Freshman Justin Safford went high for an alley-oop pass from Keon Lawrence and jammed it home with his left hand. The dunk was part of a ten-point, four-rebound performance from the freshman.

"When I let it go, I was like, 'Oh, man, I should have just pulled up,'" Lawrence said. "But then when I saw him come out of nowhere and go up and get it, I was like, 'That was a pretty good pass.'"

Lawrence made a few of them on Thursday night. He was not only Mizzou's leading scorer with 15 points, but also added nine assists and nine rebounds, falling just short of the first triple-double in Tiger history.

Now, the Tigers turn their attention to the games that count. Mizzou opens up the season with Central Michigan on Monday night in the first round of the CBE Classic.

"We didn't finish too well at the last tournament we played," Anderson said, referring to a drubbing in the Big 12 tournament by Baylor last year. "You've got to be ready to play every single night. You cannot look at somebody's jersey and assume."

The Tigers tip off at 7 p.m. and PowerMizzou.com will provide Instant Analysis from Mizzou Arena.


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