December 10, 2011

Tigers stay focused, rout Navy

Missouri matched its best start in five seasons with an 84-59 win over Navy on Saturday afternoon in front of a season-high 11,529 fans at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers fell behind 5-0 to start, but used an 11-0 run to take the lead for good. Missouri has won every game by at least 10 points and has an average scoring margin of 25.6 on the season.

At this point in the season, the Tigers are simply taking care of business.

With Navy, Kennesaw and William & Mary sandwiched between games against Villanova in New York and Illinois in St. Louis, Frank Haith knew it was important to make sure his team stayed focused.

"We talked to them about that. I think we have to, as coaches, not assume that our guys are going to be prepared," Haith said. "There's a lot on their plate. We got academics, we got exams, we got people patting them on the back telling them how great they are. We've got a lot of stuff going on."

In trying to get that message across, Haith quoted his mentor, Texas coach Rick Barnes. "He said, 'Proud peacock today, feather duster tomorrow.'"

The message being, as quickly as Mizzou has risen into the national spotlight, it could fall out by losing a game like Saturday's against Navy.

"It all could come down on us at any point in time," Haith said. "Today, I was watching Austin Peay goes in, they're 0-and-8, they go in and beat Tennessee on the road. You can get beat. This is a team that is very capable."

But the Midshipmen never came all that close to making Haith's fears a reality. Missouri simply did what it has done all season. It won and made winning look easy.

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