KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 09: Marcus Denmon #12 of the Missouri Tigers dunks the ball against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during their first round game in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 9, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The Big 12's ranked teams cruised on Friday night, but everyone else had to fight off stiff competition in their season openers.
The (current) Big 12 started the 2011 basketball out on the right foot, winning all seven of its match ups on Friday night. But not all were easy, as both Kansas State and Oklahoma survived major scares. The Wildcats, in their first game in the post-Jacob Pullen era, hosted Charleston Southern in Manhattan, and shockingly found themselves down 14 points at halftime before outscoring the Buccaneers by 19 points in the second half to secure a 72-67 victory. The Sooners, fresh off of getting placed on three years probation by the NCAA, were down three points at the half to Idaho St., a deficit that they eventually overcame in a 78-74 victory.
For the Big 12's three ranked teams, it was easy sledding in their openers. The Kansas Jayhawks, playing their first game minus the Morris Twins, trounced the Towson Tigers 100-54 at Allen Fieldhouse. The Baylor Bears, who are looking to make up for a disappointing 2010 season, cruised to an easy, though not always dominating, 77-57 victory over the Texas Southern Tigers. Finally, the Missouri Tigers, opening their first season with new coach Frank Haith, righted themselves after an uninspiring first half in an 83-68 victory over the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks.
Rounding out Friday night's slate for the Big 12 were Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The Raiders were tested by the Troy Trojans, but held on to a five point halftime lead for a 90-85 victory. The Cowboys, meanwhile, had no trouble in handling the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders, opening the game with a 44-11 halftime lead in what was a stress free 71-39 victory.