Commentary

Instant Analysis: Baylor vs. Missouri

Tigers capture first Big 12 championship with win over Bears

Updated: March 14, 2009, 10:31 PM ET
By Tim Griffin | ESPN.com

Editor's note: ESPN.com's Tim Griffin provides instant analysis from Saturday's Big 12 championship game.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Missouri coach Mike Anderson will be the first to admit his offense isn't pretty. But the Tigers came in waves Saturday night to charge past Baylor 73-60, claiming their first Big 12 title in school history.

GAME ANALYSIS: In typical frenetic Missouri style, the Tigers utilized a 10-man rotation and simply outran the gasping Bears, taking advantage of a 9-2 run in the first four minutes of the second half to take control of the game and wrap up their first NCAA tournament berth since 2003.

[+] EnlargeDeMarre Carroll
Jim Brown/US PresswireDeMarre Carroll led Missouri with 20 point and nine rebounds as the Tigers beat Baylor for their first Big 12 championship.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: The Tigers' superior depth simply wore down the Bears, who were trying to make history as the first Big 12 team to win four games in four nights en route to the tourney title. Baylor looked fatigued in the second half, shooting 33.3 percent from the field and 20 percent from 3 as the Bears were limited to 27 points in the second half.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: It's a family affair for DeMarre Carroll, who is Anderson's nephew and followed him to Missouri from his former school (Vanderbilt). Carroll came up big for his uncle when he really needed him with a game-high 20 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

PLAYER OF THE GAME II: Sharp-shooting Missouri guard Matt Lawrence missed his first two shots as he struggled through a slow start. But Lawrence erupted from the perimeter to bury three straight 3-pointers to help set the tone for the Tigers' outside game. Lawrence finished with 13 points on three 3-pointers.

VALIANT IN DEFEAT: Baylor senior guard Curtis Jerrells led the Bears with 16 points. He was limited to five points against Missouri in the first game between these teams on Jan. 31.

STAT OF THE GAME: Missouri showed excellent ball movement, racking up 17 assists on its 24 baskets.

STAT OF THE GAME II: Missouri hit 8 of its 17 3-point attempts in the championship game. In Missouri's 67-59 victory over Oklahoma State in the semifinals, the Tigers were 6-for-31 from 3-point range (19.4 percent).

CURIOUS GAME STAT: Missouri was whistled for the first seven fouls of the second half as Baylor climbed back to within five (51-46). The Tigers didn't have another foul called against them for a span of more than five minutes -- a span in which they iced the victory with a 12-3 run.

BIGGEST CHEER: It came midway through the first half, when Baylor's women's basketball team and coach Kim Mulkey arrived at the Ford Center after beating Iowa State in the semifinals at the nearby Cox Convention Center.

EVERYTHING'S DEMARRE: Carroll was named the tournament's most outstanding player. He was joined on the all-tournament team by Texas' Dexter Pittman, Texas Tech's Mike Singletary, Baylor's Kevin Rogers and Missouri's Zaire Taylor.

WHAT'S AHEAD FOR MISSOURI: The Tigers improved to 28-6, matching their most wins since their 28-4 team won the final Big Eight title for Norm Stewart in 1993-94. They likely are headed for a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament when the brackets are announced Sunday in their first NCAA trip with Anderson.

WHAT'S AHEAD FOR BAYLOR: Talk about wondering what might have been. The Bears played their best basketball in the last two months during the past week and nearly shocked their way into the NCAA tournament after losing 10 of their last 12 games in the regular season. At 20-14, they are likely headed for the NIT, where they could do some damage because of their perimeter play.

Tim Griffin covers college sports for ESPN.com. You may contact him at espntimgriff@yahoo.com.

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