MANHATTAN, Kan. | Such was the totality of Kansas State’s administration of Missouri’s first defeat of the college basketball season that the Tigers at their most competitive trailed by 13 points with just less than 12 minutes to play on Saturday.
“As a coach you don’t ever want to feel like you just get your butts kicked and they kicked our butts,” said Missouri coach Frank Haith in the aftermath of Mizzou’s 75-59 humbling. “We don’t take those things very lightly.”
No way the Tigers could. The 16-point loss (and at one point MU trailed by 23) represented a 54-point swing to the worse from Missouri’s 38-point victory over Oklahoma in Columbia on Saturday.
Through 14 straight victories and a rise to the No. 7 ranking in the nation Mizzou had been the master of all opponents, better at nearly all things than the likes of Cal, Notre Dame, Illinois, Old Dominion and Oklahoma.
Better than any team in the Big 12 Conference in nine statistical categories and better than any team in the nation in putting the basketball through the hoop on 52.2 percent of its 809 shots.
The Tigers’ average margin of victory was 25.3 points.
All of that changed on Saturday. From the opening tip Kansas State’s defensive reach turned Mizzou’s passing game into a lot of dribbling, a pass and a shot or a pass and a turnover.
In Missouri’s first four possessions sophomore point guard Phil Pressey threw the ball away twice and Ricardo Ratliffe lost possession on another.
Following prior victories the Tigers could not wait to provide post-game explanations of how they passed up good shots for great shots, how this squad had learned to play team basketball.
Despite requests for three players, Haith brought only senior Marcus Denmon to the post-game media postmortem.
Denmon did his best to try to spin the thud to 14-1 and 1-1 in the Big 12 Conference around the things Missouri did to itself.
Like shooting 22.7 percent (5 of 22) in the first half, 40.7 percent in the second half (11 of 27) and 32.7 percent (16 of 49) for the game.
Like having seven shots blocked.
Like being outscored in the paint 46-18 with Ratliffe — whose shooting percentage had led the nation — hitting the only shot he got off in a two-point, single rebound effort that lasted only 14 minutes because of three personal fouls and a technical foul for taunting K-State following Ratliffe’s only basket and a block.
“A lot of it is stuff we feel we did,” Denmon said.
Or did not do.
Like block out off the boards; K-State out-rebounded Missouri 39-22.
Like get back on defense; K-State scored 21 [points off 14 Missouri turnovers.
“We weren’t efficient with our cuts and getting open for our point guards,” Denmon said.
Denmon led Missouri in scoring with 17 points (Michael Dixon had 16). But in a first-half Kansas State won 44-25, Missouri managed only five baskets and Denmon had four of them and 12 of his points.
Missouri mounted stiffer resistance in the second half.
When Kim English drove the left side and flipped in a reverse lay up with 11:52 to play, the Tigers trailed only 52-39.
Kansas State hit 17 of 29 shots in the first half (58.6) percent, and 13 of those came from the near baselines or the paint. But the Wildcats, rebounding to 12-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big 12 after a convincing loss at Kansas on Wednesday, opened the door for Mizzou by hitting only three of their first 14 shots in the second half.
The Tigers simply never could walk through that opening.
Haith zeroed in Missouri’s defensive shortcomings and questioned whether the Tigers came to play with enough intensity to fend off the ferocity of the Wildcats.
“For the first time all year we did not defend the way we needed to,” Haith said. “Give K-State credit.
“They attacked us and came after us. We did not respond very well.”
At the end, Haith made an attempt at some levity in trying to put the loss in the perspective of being only one loss.
“I didn’t think we were going to go 41 or 42-0,” Haith said. “We’ve got to learn from it.” MISSOURI NOTEBOOK
EIGHT STRAIGHT: Missouri, headed to the Southeastern Conference next season, ended its Big 12 tenure at K-State with an eighth straight defeat. The Tigers came as close as 10 points only twice in that skid.
TOUGH DAY FOR FLIP: Mizzou point guard Phil Pressey had four turnovers to three assists and fouled out with only three points after missing all six shots from the floor. “Let’s just this and remind everybody,” MU coach Frank Haith said. “Phil Pressey’s only a sophomore. ... I will bet my money on Phil Pressey bouncing back from this game.”
NEXT UP: The Tigers play at Iowa State at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. (Update- Right now Iowa State is winning at A&M 56-33. Victory would make the Cyclones 12-3 and 2-0 in the Big 12). Missouri swept Iowa State last season, winning 76-70 in Ames and 87-54 in Columbia.