Lyons leads Missouri past pesky Murray State 75-64 -

Lyons leads Missouri past pesky Murray State 75-64

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri passed its toughest test at home without big games from its senior duo thanks in part to clutch free-throw shooting at the finish.

Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carroll were held to 27 points, 9.5 points beneath their combined average, in the Tigers' ragged 75-64 victory over pesky Murray State on Saturday night. Matt Lawrence helped fill the void with 14 points, including three 3-pointers.

"I knew we were going to have one of those nights," Carroll said. "But we've got other guys stepping up, and that's the beauty of our team, "

Lyons finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, his second double-double of the season. Carroll, held to two points in the first half, had 13 points and seven rebounds.

"We made an emphasis of really trying to dig in the post and cause havoc," Murray State coach Billy Kennedy said. "That's the only chance we had with their size advantage and their experience, to make them make jump shots."

Lawrence, who had only four points in Missouri's last game against California, hit all of his 3-pointers in the first half while Murray State was concentrating on the inside threats.

"That's how I get a lot of my shots," Lawrence said. "It seemed like everytime we passed it into the post, they were double-teaming them, and they did a good job of finding me early on, and in the second half, too."

Missouri is 6-0 at home, although the first five wins were by an average of 27.8 points. The Tigers (8-1) have won a school-record 33 straight against nonconference opponents at Mizzou Arena, including 26 in a row under third-year coach Mike Anderson.

A sluggish second half that featured 11 of the Tigers' 19 turnovers, plus Murray State's 35-33 overall rebounding edge, ended Missouri's run of three straight 90-plus point outings. Anderson said players failed to consider the game situation, blaming them of "clock mismanagement."

Carroll said many of the turnovers were unforced.

"We were trying to make the home run play instead of making the simple play," Carroll said. "It's good that we're learning now rather than later in the season."

Missouri was 9-for-11 from the line the last two minutes after a shaky 10-for-18 start, helping pull away after Murray State (5-3) twice shaved the deficit to four points. The Tigers have had free-throw problems all season, entering with 64 percent accuracy, and needed to be strong at the end against a team favored to win the Ohio Valley Conference.

"Our guys dug down deep down the stretch, especially when it got down to four points," Anderson said. "Let's give them credit, even when we went up 17, they never went away.

"They had nothing to lose and everything to gain, so they came with it."

Isacc Miles had a season-high 18 points for Murray State, which has lost its last two. The Racers, one of the nation's best free-throw shooting teams, were 11-for-14 from the line.

Kennedy said one of Murray State's goals was to limit Missouri to 75 points.

"It wasn't enough," Kennedy said. "It's a credit to how good a team they are."

Missouri seemingly had the game in hand, leading 57-40 with just over 12 minutes to go. Murray State responded with a 14-4 run capped by freshman reserve Donte Poole's first six points of the game, then twice narrowed the deficit to four points.

Missouri led 40-31 at the break after a series of runs by both teams. The Tigers scored the first nine points, Murray State scored eight straight to make it a two-point game, took its only lead at 20-21 on a 9-0 run, then surrendered nine straight by Missouri.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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