No. 24 Missouri 81, Mercer 63

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 14, 2011
Phil Pressey had a career-best 22 points with four assists and five steals, helping No. 24 Missouri beat Mercer 81-63 on Monday. Kim English added 18 points and Michael Dixon contributed 14 points, and Missouri (2-0) used its speed to force 14 steals. Dixon and Pressey combined for 18 points in the Tigers' first game against Southeast Missouri State on Friday. In the first round of the CBE Classic, Missouri extended its school-record winning streak over nonconference opponents at home to 60 games, since the 2005-06 opener. The Tigers entered the season ranked for the first time since 2003-04 coming off three NCAA tournament bids, and gave new coach Frank Haith his second victory at the school. Jibri Bryan led Mercer (1-1) with 19 points off the bench in the second game of his career. Mercer, picked to finish in the middle of the Atlantic Sun Conference, started one senior and four sophomores after losing two-thirds of its scoring and 60 percent of its rebounding from a year ago. The loss of seniors Jeff Smith and Brandon Moore leaves the team with 12 players on the roster who are freshmen or sophomores. Justin Cecil, the lone senior on the roster and a former junior college teammate of Missouri's Ricardo Ratliffe, added nine points for the Bears. Bud Thomas, who scored a career-high 18 points against Emory on Saturday, was limited to a field goal and free throw at Missouri. The Tigers lack height without 6-foot-9 Laurence Bowers, out for the year with a knee injury, and often had four guards on the floor, but Mercer failed to take advantage on the boards, getting outrebounded by Missouri by three. Mercer trailed by 16 at the half, but used a 16-5 run midway through the second half to close within 10, but that's as close as the Bears could get. Missouri leads the series, 4-0. It was the first time the schools met since 1996.
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