COLUMBIA | Missouri scored the first 12 points of the second half, turning what had been a poor exhibition of college basketball into a passable tune-up for the Tigers’ regular season start on Saturday.
The outcome was never in doubt and it ended Missouri 87, Missouri Southern 58.
But a first half that Missouri led 48-33 featured more turnovers — 31 combined (Missouri with 14) than 28 combined baskets (Missouri with 16). And at the end of the night it was still that way.
Missouri finished with 24 turnovers and 30 baskets, Southern 31 turnovers and 23 buckets.
Not until the 12:26 mark of the second half — following a vicious slam by first-year Missouri junior forward Keith Ramsey — did MU Coach Mike Anderson break into a real smile and a round of applause caught on the Mizzou Arena video board.
Almost as pleasing to the small crowd of 4,304 was freshman forward Laurence Bowers’ dunk with 10:20 to play.
Veterans Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carroll led the way for Mizzou in the first half, Lyons scoring 10 and Carroll 12. Carroll finished with 16 and Lyons — who picked up his fourth foul early in the second half — wound up with 19.
Anderson mixed and matched his lineup most of the night, something likely to extend into the early games of the regular season because Missouri has seven players new to the roster, including five true freshmen.
Of those newcomers, guards Marcus Denmon and Kim English started quickly, scoring seven points each in the first half. Denmon and English seemed to have proved themselves to Anderson in the first half. They didn’t play much in the second half. English wound up with 11 points and Denmon 10.
Darel Crittedon and Skyler Bowlin led Southern with a dozen points each.
Not surprisingly considering the opposition, Missouri — in three exhibition games in Canada and two in Columbia — has trailed for only six total seconds. Brock University held a 22-20 lead on MU for that span of time before Denmon drained a three that sparked a 33-8 surge.
THE REAL GAMES: Missouri plays its first game of the regular season here Saturday afternoon against Prairie View A&M. Tip-off is at 3:30 p.m. with MU going after its 28th straight non-conference home game victory. The Tigers also will play at Mizzou Arena on at 7 p.m. on Monday against Chattanooga, then will depart for Puerto Rico for games in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 20-21 and 23.
NO MORE MOSO: You figure one of these days Missouri Southern will figure out there is not much to gain by playing Missouri at Mizzou Arena. Southern played a Quin Snyder-coached MU team here in 2005 and lost 87-61 after trailing 46-19 at the half.
SOUTHERN FALLS TO 0-2: In exhibitions. Last week the Lions lost to SIU-Carbondale 82-59. Now it is on to the regular season, hosting Newman in Joplin on Saturday night at 7 p.m.