Missouri takes Old Dominion 66-61, gains final - KMOV.com

Missouri takes Old Dominion 66-61, gains final

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (AP) -- Missouri used a smothering full-court press to force an up-tempo game in a 66-61 semifinal victory over Old Dominion on Friday at the South Padre Island Invitational.

"That's a part of what we are and who we are," said Missouri associate head coach Melvin Watkins. "We like to create tempo."

The victory set up a championship game Saturday between the Tigers and Richmond, which beat Mississippi State.

Watkins said the Tigers would try to force a Richmond team strong in its half-court execution into a fast-paced game.

"Get the tempo to our liking is what we want to do," Watkins said.

Missouri held off a late run by the Monarchs, who got within four points with about six minutes to play.

Missouri (4-0) was led by senior guard J.T. Tiller's 12 points and seven assists and sophomore guard Kim English's 11 points. Eight players scored in the Tigers' balanced attack.

Senior guard Marsharee Neely of Old Dominion led all scorers with 20 points. Gerald Lee added 13 and Ben Finney 12.

Old Dominion (4-1) struggled with Missouri's aggressive defense, turning the ball over 17 times in the first half and creating easy baskets for the Tigers. Missouri led 32-18 at the break.

Missouri started a full-court press midway through the first half, fueling a 9-0 run that put the Tigers ahead 17-9 with less than eight minutes remaining. The Monarchs struggled to inbound and get the ball across midcourt. Tigers senior guard Zaire Taylor had four steals.

Old Dominion outrebounded Missouri 35-30 and hit 6 of 13 3-point attempts, but it was not enough to compensate for 24 turnovers.

The lone bright spot for the Monarchs in the first half was the scoring of Neely, who had 10 points, more than half the team's total. No other Monarch had more than two points in the half.

Neely's shooting continued in the second half, as he scored eight points in the first three minutes, including two three-pointers.

The Tigers' scoring was more balanced, benefitting from the bench contributions of freshman guard Michael Dixon and sophomore forward Laurence Bowers, who each scored six in the half. Eight Tigers scored six points or more.

The Monarchs drew close with a 14-4 run late in the second half, cutting the lead to 49-45 with about six minutes to play. But Missouri, which shot 77 percent from the free-throw line for the game, made its foul shots to seal the win.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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