Missouri moves to 12-1 with rout
Ohio St., Louisville post easy victories as top-25 teams cruise
The Associated Press
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Marcus Denmon scored 24 points to lead No. 9 Missouri to a 97-61 blowout victory over Northern Illinois on Monday night.
Matt Pressey added a career-high 18 points for Missouri (12-1), which scored the first 17 points of the game and held the largest halftime lead against a Division I opponent in school history at 40 points. The Tigers connected on 69 percent of their shots in the opening frame and scored a season-best 57 points in the first period.
It was 100th win for coach Mike Anderson, who became the fastest coach in program history to reach that mark. He needed just 147 games.
Michael Dixon was held out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game after being reinstated in time for the Tigers' 75-64 win over Illinois. The sophomore was suspended two games for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Dixon, who started the Tigers' first nine games, finished with eight points and team-high eight assists.
Laurence Bowers finished with 16 points and Ricardo Ratliffe scored 14 for Missouri, which had five players in double figures.
Tim Toller led Northern Illinois in scoring with 13 points.
Xavier Silas, who came into the game as the nation's second-leading scorer at 26.2 points per game, finished with just eight points for the Huskies (3-7).
The Tigers posted 26 assists on 37 field goals. Missouri currently ranks ninth in the country by averaging 18.3 assists.
The win pushes Missouri's home court non-conference winning streak to 55 games with all but seven of those victories coming under Anderson.
No. 2 Ohio State 100, Tennessee-Martin 40 -- Box Score
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- William Buford scored the first seven points of the game and came out of an offensive funk to finish with 23 points to lead No. 2 Ohio State to a 100-40 victory over Tennessee-Martin on Monday night.
Deshaun Thomas added 20 points, Jared Sullinger had 18 points and 11 rebounds and David Lighty and Dallas Lauderdale scored 10 points apiece for the Buckeyes (13-0), one of eight remaining Division I unbeatens. They are off to the fourth-best start in the program's 112 seasons.
It was the ninth-biggest victory margin in Ohio State history.
Ohio State took a 12-0 lead after the opening three minutes, then scored the first 18 points of the second half.
Reuben Clayton had 11 points for the Skyhawks (4-9), coming off a 4-25 mark a year ago and picked to finish last in the Ohio Valley Conference this season.
The Skyhawks hit just 17-of-63 shots from the field (27 percent) while the Buckeyes were 41-of-70 (59 percent). Ohio State also had a 49-28 edge on the boards and forced 19 turnovers while committing just nine.
Coach Thad Matta moved to 97-2 against unranked teams at home and 90-17 against non-conference opponents in his seven years at Ohio State.
Ahead 49-17 at the half, Ohio State poured it on in the opening 5 1/2 minutes of the second half, going on an 18-0 run before Terence Smith ended the drought with a short jumper.
UT Martin fell to 0-9 against the Big Ten and 0-2 against Ohio State.
Buford, the Buckeyes' second-leading scorer a year ago, had gotten off to a slow start this season. His shooting percentages overall, on 3-pointers and at the line were all down and he was averaging 12.5 points - down from 14.4 points as a sophomore.
But he made sure that he and the Buckeyes got off to a quick start. Buford hit a jumper from the right corner to open the scoring, then made a breakaway layup and popped in a 3-pointer to make it 7-0 after the first 1:06.
Sullinger then scored the next five points as the Buckeyes led 12-0. The Skyhawks didn't get on the board until Terence Smith's runner from just inside the free-throw line fell in at the 16:46 mark.
UT Martin finished the half just 7-of-31 from the field for 23 percent to Ohio State's 20-of-36 (56 percent).
The Buckeyes' early lead at the break was built around Buford's 16 points, 12 by Sullinger and 10 more from Thomas.
The Buckeyes improved some gaudy numbers at the expense of the Skyhawks. As a ranked team, Ohio State is 374-105 all-time, 26-7 when ranked No. 2 and 253-56 -- with wins in 44 of its last 46 games -- when ranked in the top 10.
Former Ohio State center Greg Oden, who led the Buckeyes to the national championship game, sat courtside. He received a lengthy standing ovation when a montage of highlights from his one year at Ohio State were played.
No. 22 Louisville 104, Morgan State 74 -- Box Score
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Preston Knowles scored a career-high 31 points as No. 22 Louisville routed Morgan State 104-74 in its final tuneup before a showdown with rival Kentucky on Friday.
Kyle Kuric added 25 points and the Cardinals (11-1) had little trouble with the Bears. Louisville shot 59 percent from the field and forced 26 turnovers to easily win its third consecutive game.
The Cardinals, who scored 114 points in a win over Western Kentucky last week, stayed hot. Louisville made 17-of-23 3-point attempts (74 percent) while topping the 100-point barrier for the third time this season.
DeWayne Jackson led Morgan State (4-5) with 22 points but the Bears were never in it. The Cardinals needed just five minutes to build a double-digit lead and cruise to its fourth victory by at least 30 points.
Terrance Jennings added 15 points while Chris Smith had 10 for Louisville. The Cardinals continued to share the ball, finishing with 25 assists on 35 field goals, a trait coach Rick Pitino said has been key to his team's surprisingly strong start.
Louisville went out of its way to make sure the Bears could get out of wintry Baltimore in time to make the game, arranging for a charter flight after Morgan State's commercial flight was cancelled. Considering the way the defending MEAC champions played in the first half, maybe they should have stayed at home.
The Cardinals jumped on the Bears early, with Kuric knocking down three early 3-pointers in the opening minutes. Morgan State, meanwhile, struggled holding onto the ball. The Cardinals wasted little time taking advantage, getting another balanced effort. When Kuric slowed down, though he did add an impressive one-handed tip-dunk to his five 3-pointers, Knowles heated up.
He drilled three 3-pointers in the half, the last of which came a good two steps behind the line. The shot gave Louisville a 58-28 lead at the break. Knowles raised his arms as the ball fell through the hoop then raced to the locker room while the capacity crowd officially moved on to thinking the annual game against the Wildcats on New Year's Eve.
The ``Beat UK'' chants started in the final minutes, though Pitino continued to play Knowles and Kuric late into the game to keep the intensity level up. It almost worked too well; the only drama in the second half coming with just over a minute to play when Morgan State's Justin Black shoved Smith to the ground while Smith raced down the floor for a layup.
Smith angrily pulled himself up off the floor before being held back by teammates, though the brief skirmish gave Smith a glimpse of what awaits when the Wildcats visit the KFC Yum! Center at the end of the week.