COLUMBIA, Mo. • Considering sophomore guard Phil Pressey has been Mizzou's least keen-eyed field-goal shooter (38.4 percent) and had managed to find just five of 18 in MU's previous two games, Texas coach Rick Barnes seemed to have sound strategy for containing Pressey's uncanny ball distribution.
"We actually told our team, 'We'll let him have 35 (points),'" Barnes said.
Which was a nice way of saying ... let him shoot.
But don't let him dictate the flow and tempo of the game.
Instead, Pressey did it all, uncorking 15 of his 18 points in the second half while doling out 10 assists with zero turnovers to stir the ninth-ranked Tigers past the Longhorns 84-73 Saturday at Mizzou Arena.
Mizzou is 16-1, extending the third-best start in school history, and 3-1 in Big 12 play. Texas is 12-5 and 2-2.
Before an announced crowd of 14,026 that briefly chanted "S-E-C" near game's end, in reference to MU's impending move, Mizzou's seniors improved to 61-3 at home as the Tigers outscored Texas 20-2 in points off turnovers.
"They don't need help," Barnes said, "and when you give them 20 points off of turnovers, it's hard to overcome."
Senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe led MU with 21 points, and senior guard Marcus Denmon had 18 points for the Tigers coming off a personal 50-game low of six against Iowa State. Denmon also had 11 rebounds.
But the Tigers were outrebounded 36-26 by the 'Horns, who used 16 offensive caroms to convert 17 second-chance points.
The game was just the second meeting between MU's first-year coach, Frank Haith, and Barnes, his former boss at Texas and a mentor. Texas beat Haith's Miami team in the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
"It was a tough day," said Haith, adding that he loves Barnes and they "have a bond beyond this game we play."
Said Barnes, "Missouri did good getting him, and they better do everything they can to keep him."
Backing up his point, Barnes said Haith has found the perfect style for a team that has only seven scholarship players and minimal size.
Just as significantly, Haith clearly has connected with his players.
"They enjoy passing the ball. ... To me, it doesn't look like a team that's got egos," Barnes said. "It seems like they've got one thing in mind, and that's to play hard to help Missouri be the best team (it) can be."
Pressey was the catalyst for that Saturday in an effort Barnes said was "as impressive as I've seen" against Texas this season.
Pressey's scoring and assist totals were career highs in Big 12 play, and he did much of his damage when Mizzou most needed it done.
With Texas having shaved a 16-point MU lead to 62-57 on two free throws by J'Covan Brown (34 points) with 9 minutes 40 seconds left, Pressey proceeded to unleash a personal 7-0 run in a 49-second span that included a 3-pointer, two free throws and a dunk off his steal.
Counting his three-point play before Brown's free throws, that gave Pressey 10 straight points for the otherwise sagging Tigers.
For good measure, after Texas sneaked a basket in edgewise to break up his 7-0 burst, Pressey hit Steve Moore for a layup to make it 71-59 with 7:46 left.
The Longhorns never got within single digits again.
"Big swing," said Barnes, who called Pressey "terrific" and added, "He orchestrated the whole game."
Not that Pressey, who made five of 12 field-goal attempts, suddenly is the best shooter in the nation. But he's a big reason MU entered the day tied for the nation's best from the field, with Ratliffe embodying that.
Ratliffe hit 10 of 12 to lead MU with 21 points and now is making an NCAA-best 78.5 percent.
Pressey did make enough to make Texas pay for its stance and still had his typical share of stupefying deliveries with none of the goofy giveaways that sometimes are part of the package.
"I always have my hands ready, just in case," Ratliffe said, adding that he typically is surprised by a Pressey pass coming his way three or four times a game.
Mizzou seemed more than ready to make this game another runaway at home, where no one had come within 15 of the Tigers and MU had won its last seven by an average of 33 points.
Coming off its two worst 3-point shooting performances of the season, Mizzou reversed itself to make seven of its first eight 3s to help create a 37-21 lead on a layup by Ratliffe from Denmon and lead 43-30 at halftime.
But with the Tigers finding absolutely no answer for Brown, who made six of seven 3s, MU had to rebuff the second-half Longhorn rally before pulling away again late with a big boost from Pressey.
"He was making all the right plays," Haith said.