Mizzou finds rotation that works

March, 14, 2009
03/14/09
7:21
PM ET
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Missouri coach Mike Anderson started throwing his players out on the court in waves, hoping that somebody would start hitting shots.

His strategy of picking from a rotation of 10 players started kicking in as Missouri claimed a 37-33 halftime lead over Baylor in the Big 12 championship game.

The Bears looked like they weren't intimidated by their challenge, jumping to a quick 19-12 lead barely 9½ minutes into the game, even as they missed their first five 3-point attempts to start the game. Guards Curtis Jerrells and LaceDarius Dunn were particularly effective in the early going.

But Missouri charged back on a 15-1 run featuring scoring by four different players to reclaim the lead for most of the rest of the half.

Missouri got a big lift off the bench from freshman guard Kim English, who appeared quicker in transition than Baylor's guards, to spark the comeback. English scored four of his seven points during the pivotal run.

Missouri leading scorer DeMarre Carroll started asserting himself with game-high totals of nine points and six rebounds. One reason was Baylor also is facing some foul trouble with its big players, Mamadou Diene and Kevin Rogers.

Before the game, an article in Saturday's Oklahoman newspaper called out Baylor coach Scott Drew as the conference's worst coach. It blasted him for keeping his game strategy on index cards.

Drew might have given his critics some more fodder late in the first half when he tried to play Rogers with two fouls and had Diene on the sidelines ready to come into the game. Diene was unable to enter the game and Rogers picked up his third foul with 29 seconds left in the half. It was a huge deflation for the Bears heading into the break.

The Baylor center who had the best showing in the half was Josh Lomers, who was assertive in the paint as he provided two points and three rebounds.

Baylor needs to get its perimeter attack started quickly, like it did in the early stages of the game, or else Missouri's superior depth might be able to wear the Bears out in the latter stages of the game.

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