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Tigers’ approach leads them to Big 12 final

Big 12 Basketball Tournament - Texas v Missouri

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 09: Head coach Frank Haith of the Missouri Tigers reacts against the Texas Longhorns during the semifinals of the 2012 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 9, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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With Missouri playing their final Big 12 tournament it’s become commonplace to wonder if head coach Frank Haith or his players have any thoughts on that. With No. 3 Kansas bowing out at the hands of Baylor earlier in the night that one last “Border War” was off the table for Saturday.

But the Tigers aren’t concerned with any of that as this is a business trip, one they intend on completing with a Big 12 championship.

“It is a business trip. Every game is about business,” remarked Kim English. “Every road trip is about business. And we came to Kansas City to take care of business. And we’re in the position where we expect it to be.”

English, who made nine of his ten shots from the field, and Phil Pressey scored 23 points apiece to lead Missouri (29-4, 14-4) took care of Texas by the final score 81-67. Ricardo Ratliffe added 18 points and 14 rebounds and Michael Dixon Jr. added ten off the bench, helping to make up for Marcus Denmon’s 0-for-10 night from the field.

As a team Missouri shot 52.6% from the field and knocked down ten three-pointers, which helped negate the 20 offensive rebounds that Texas was able to grab. J’Covan Brown led the Longhorns with 21 points and eight rebounds, but he needed 20 shots to score those points.

English missed part of the second half with a thigh contusion but he returned to the game, and with treatment should be fine for Saturday’s final.

All the postgame questions about other conference tournaments and their final run through the Big 12 were met by essentially the same answer: this trip is about business for Missouri, who is focused on nothing more than getting ready for the Bears.

“We got here. We talked about winning championships,” said Haith. “We had an opportunity to do that earlier in the year in the CBE Classic. That was the championship. We have an opportunity to play [in] the Big 12 Championship, regardless of who we’re playing against.”

Missouri’s dialed in, and that bodes well for their prospects throughout the month of March. And maybe even April.