Kansas and Missouri tipped off Saturday in front of an amped Columbia crowd which was fueled by the Tigers impending departure to the SEC. Needless to say the Boarder War Showdown is circled on the calendar by both squads every year. These two teams love to go at it and the fans love it as well. With Missouri heading to the SEC this one was a little special and the Tigers were looking to put an end to the conference rivalry on their terms.
It was a sprint from the very beginning. Tough shots were falling for both clubs and it appeared the last team to take a shot would probably have a chance to win the contest. As it turned out that was pretty close to being the final result.
A slumping Marcus Denmon came up huge for the Tigers. On this day he would rack up 29 points during the contest, 6 of the shots coming from beyond the arc. Missouri really shared the basketball well keeping Kansas a little off balance. Kansas had an answer most of the night. The Jayhawks’s plan was to feed the big men early in the possession. Thomas Robinson totaled 25 points and 13 rebounds to add another double double to his resume. Jeff Withey was stagnant with four rebounds and zero points on a night Jayhawk nation needed him to contribute. This was a major factor this night.
The Kansas Jayhawks, despite some lackluster defensive stints in the second half, did control an 8 point lead late in the game, but were held scoreless in the final 3:24 where the Tigers went on an 11-0 run to claim a big win for its squad. The final buzzer would show a Missouri Tiger 3 point win.
Kansas looked comfortable with the late game lead and it proved to bite them. This year’s rotation has been known to take it foot off the gas. You simply can’t play with that mentality and win big games like that of Saturday against a sharp shooting, disciplined team such as Missouri.
The loss creates a three way tie for the big twelve conference race. Baylor, Kansas and Missouri are all leading the pack with 2 losses each. Many more games to play.
Kansas will next face the Baylor Bears Wednesday at 6 pm in Waco. Kansas controlled the first meeting this year and look for the Bears to be ready to avenge their early season loss in Lawrence.