10th-ranked Tigers set sights on Midshipmen in Columbia

Dec 10, 2011 - 3:49 PM Columbia, MO (Sports Network) - The 10th-ranked Missouri Tigers return to Columbia for a three-game homestand, starting with this evening's showdown with the Navy Midshipmen.

Frank Haith has yet to experience a loss at the helm of Missouri, as the Tigers have opened his debut season with eight straight wins. The team was last in action on Tuesday when it topped Villanova in the Jimmy V. Classic in New York City, 81-71.

Ed DeChellis' Midshipmen have struggled early on, winning just three of their 10 games thus far. Navy enters the Mizzou Arena with a three-game losing streak in tow, including Tuesday's 69-67 defeat at the hands of Monmouth.

This is the third all-time meeting in this series and first since 1994. The Tigers won both previous matchups.

The Midshipmen have struggled this year with offensive consistency. The team is shooting a pedestrian 43 percent from the floor, leading to 61.8 ppg. The scoring pool is extremely shallow, with only J.J. Avila and Jordan Sugars representing viable scoring threats at 13.4 and 10.8 ppg, respectively. Worth Smith ranks third on the team in scoring, but nets just 6.6 ppg. The Midshipmen actually put up a balanced scoring effort against Monmouth, but they still lost. Avila led the way with 14 points. Sugars added 12, while Smith and Jordan Brickman chipped in with 11 points apiece.

Lighting up scoreboards has been much easier for the Tigers this year, with the team averaging 85.6 ppg thus far, shooting 51.1 percent from the floor, including 42.5 percent from behind the arc. Scoring depth is apparent, led by Marcus Denmon, who is netting 21.3 ppg. Fellow guard Kim English can fill up the basket as well at 16.6 ppg. The pair have combined for 56 of the team's 74 three-pointers thus far. Ricardo Ratliffe (14.3 ppg, team-high 7.1 rpg) provides balance up front. Michael Dixon rounds out the top scoring threats at 10.9 ppg and has done so off the bench. Denmon led the way in the 10-point win over Villanova this week, draining six three-pointers en route to a 28-point outing. Ratliffe added a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. English finished with 15 points in the win.

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