for this game

Missouri erupts in second half, beats Texas in Big 12 opener

Jan 12, 2008 - 10:49 PM COLUMBIA, Missouri (Ticker) -- Missouri delivered a message to Texas - playing in the Big 12 Conference without Kevin Durant will not be easy.

Keon Lawrence scored a season-high 18 points off the bench Saturday afternoon as the Tigers used an explosive second half to upset the 13th-ranked Longhorns, 97-84, in the Big 12 opener for both schools.

Texas was one of the top teams in the Big 12 last season thanks to Durant, the sensational freshman forward who led the Longhorns to a 12-4 record in league play and an appearance in the conference tournament title game.

Despite Durant's early departure to the NBA, Texas again was tabbed as a preseason contender in the Big 12, which entered play Saturday with just three nationally ranked teams.

But Missouri spoiled things for Texas (13-3, 0-1 Big 12), which had won its previous nine conference openers.

"It was one conference game, and we beat a good team at home," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "It was good to get a good win like this to start off conference play, and we're going to have to keep executing like we did today to keep it up."

It was the 13th straight home win for the Tigers (11-5, 1-0), who snapped a nine-game skid vs. the Longhorns and captured their first victory in this series since February 27, 1999.

Facing a 40-38 halftime deficit, Missouri erupted in the second half to snap its slump against Texas and record its first victory over Texas coach Rick Barnes.

"I'm just disappointed," Barnes said. "It's the first game of the conference season. Our guys, the older guys especially, they know what it takes to compete at this level."

Missouri opened the second half with a 14-2 run to take a 52-42 lead. The Tigers led by as many as 15 after the break and finished with season highs in points, 3-pointers (12) and shooting percentage (56 percent).

Lawrence poured in 15 points before the break, and the Tigers used a balanced attack over the final 20 minutes to outscore the Longhorns, 59-44.

"You're not always going to shoot 70 percent (in the second half) against a team like Texas," Anderson said. "But we've been executing a lot better in the second half."

Jason Horton scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half, Stefhon Hannah added 15 points and reserve Marshall Brown 14 for Missouri, which had six players score in double figures.

"When you have six guys in double figures, that's pretty amazing," Anderson said. "It wasn't just a halfcourt game. We pushed the ball well across the court and were able to use that to our advantage."

Damion Jones scored 19 of his 27 points in the first half and A.J. Abrams chipped in 21 for Texas, which shot 9-of-25 (36 percent) from the arc.

Texas star point guard D.J. Augustin finished with 17 points and eight assists. But the sophomore also committed five turnovers and shot just 6-of-16 from the floor.

"I told our team at halftime, I said the game will be won by the team that decides to defend in the second half," Barnes said. "We didn't even try to defend. They got so many wide open shots in the second half."