Missouri rode a dominant end to the first half and huge performance from Marcus Denmon as the #10 ranked Tigers knocked Villanova 81-71 at Madison Square Garden in the opening game of the Jimmy V Classic. Denmon, the senior guard, was 6-10 from beyond the arc and finished with 28 to lead all scorers. Ricardo Ratliffe and Kim English also finished in double figures.
With 6:15 left in the first the game was tied at 21 and Nova was hanging tough with the #10 ranked team in the country. But after a Jay Wright timeout, Missouri turned it on and went on a 12-2 run over the next three minutes. The first half would end with the Tiger lead at 42 to 29.
Villanova played much better in the second half, but more or less fought Missouri to a standstill and couldn't overcome the big first half deficit. Maalik Wayns led the Wildcats with 14, while Mouphtaou Yarou, JayVaughn Pinkston, Darrun Hillard, Dominic Cheek all finished in double figures.
Nova falls to 5-3 on the year and next takes on Temple in a Big 5 matchup this Saturday at the Liacouras Center.