10 March 2012

Big 12 Tourney: Semifinals

Mizzou, Baylor set for rematch
by Mizzou Matt
KANSAS CITY, MO- The semis were filled with excitement as Baylor took on Kansas and Mizzou took on Texas. However, the big game is set. The Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament final will feature a rematch from the 2009 game between the University of Missouri Tigers and the Baylor University Bears. The Tigers won the '09 meeting, 73-60. The game will be a test, considering how tough it is to beat a team three times in a season, plus given the fact that the Bears knocked off top-seeded Kansas.

GAME 1: For the second time since 2008, Baylor upsets the top-seeded Jayhawks 81-72 to advance to the finals. Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor led all scorers with 20 points while Perry Jones III led Baylor with 18. Baylor moves to 27-6 on the year with the win, and Kansas' season comes to a close until the national tournament with a final record of 27-6. 

The Bears do have history stacked against them, however. No Texas-based team has won ever won the Big 12 basketball hardware since the league's inception in the 1996-97 season. The winners of the tournament (defeated):
1997: Kansas (Missouri)
1998: Kansas (Oklahoma)
1999: Kansas (Oklahoma State)
2000: Iowa State (Oklahoma)
2001: Oklahoma (Texas)
2002: Oklahoma (Kansas)
2003: Oklahoma (Missouri)
2004: Oklahoma State (Texas)
2005: Oklahoma State (Texas Tech)
2006: Kansas (Texas)
2007: Kansas (Texas)
2008: Kansas (Texas)
2009: Missouri (Baylor)
2010: Kansas (Kansas State)
2011: Kansas (Texas)

GAME 2: After upsetting Iowa State and co-coach of the year Fred Hoidberg, Rick Barnes took on his protege Frank Haith. Haith served as an assistant from 2001-2004 before going to Coral Gables to coach the Miami Hurricanes. Enough background, it's game time. The Tigers got off to a sluggish start...except Phil Pressey and Kim English. English and Pressey would combine for 46 points before the game was over. Held to just a seven point advantage at the half, the Tigers erupted to an 81-67 victory.

A scary moment in the game for the Longhorns when J'Covan Brown went down hard, holding the right side of his neck. He laid on the floor before being helped off, only to return a few minutes later.  Later on in the second half, the Tigers had their chance at a scare when English went down to a contusion on his thigh after inadvertent contact.

English finished the night 9/10, his only miss was after his injury. Pressey went 8/13 and had 4 assists. The story of the night was Marcus Denmon. 2 points, NO FIELD GOALS. Both of Denmon's points came on his two free throw attempts. Michael Dixon earned the 6th man of the game with his 10 points coming off the bench, while Ricardo Ratliffe tossed in 18 of his own.

Mizzou improves to 29-4 on the year, while Texas drops to 20-13, and will await to see where they will be placed in the field of 68 for the national tournament.

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