Bowers leads Missouri over UT-Martin -

Bowers leads Missouri over UT-Martin

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Frontcourt scoring was supposed to be Missouri's question mark. In the Tigers' regular-season opener on Tuesday night, it was more like an exclamation point.

Forward Laurence Bowers came off the bench to score 16 points and Keith Ramsey added a career-high 15 as Missouri rolled to an 83-68 victory over Tennessee-Martin.

After losing forwards DeMarre Carroll (16.6 points a game in 2008-09) and Leo Lyons (14.6) from a squad that finished one game from the Final Four, Missouri (1-0) needed contributions from such players as Bowers, a sophomore, and Ramsey, a senior. Neither averaged more than 14 minutes last year.

It appeared Tuesday that Bowers and Ramsey were ready to assume the responsibility. Bowers pulled down a career-high eight rebounds and Ramsey had seven boards as Missouri dominated an undersized Skyhawks frontcourt.

UT-Martin (0-2) kept the game somewhat close in the first half, trailing by 12 at halftime thanks in part to 13 points from junior Benzor Simmons, who finished with a game-high 30. But with only eight players dressed, the Skyhawks wore down, committing 23 turnovers.

Junior guard Reuben Clayton, UT-Martin's leading scorer in its opener against Southern Illinois, was not in uniform.

Missouri got 10 points from sophomore Marcus Denmon and seven from highly-touted freshman Michael Dixon.

The Tigers had a scary moment when senior guard and 2008-09 Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year J.T. Tiller left the game after a foul from 6-foot-10 Skyhawks center Dominique Mpondo with 17:28 remaining. Tiller suffered a sprained left foot.

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

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