In this four-part series leading up to Missouri's debut at the Big 12 Championship on Thursday, rptgwb will take a look at some of the smaller moments that played a huge role in shaping Missouri's run through the Big 12. Today, this installment takes a look at a moment potentially lost in the debris of destruction that was Missouri's implosion against Kansas in Lawrence.
Early eight-second swing turns tide in Lawrence
The Date: March 1, 2009
The Game: Mizzou vs. Kansas
The Place: Allen Fieldhouse
The Result: 90-65 L
The Moment: "Tyshawn Taylor turnover, Zaire Taylor steal (15:55), J.T. Tiller missed layup, Markieff Morris defensive rebound (15:53), Cole Aldrich made dunk (15:47)"
Why it mattered: Missouri entered Lawrence on the first day of March controlling its own Big 12 destiny and expecting its best shot at knocking off its rivals in Lawrence for the first time in 10 years. In retrospect, it never seemed like Missouri had a shot.
In an electric Allen Fieldhouse, Missouri was missing shots left and right but staying within arm's reach of Kansas thanks to the Tigers' frenetic energy. Missouri trailed 7-5 about four minutes into the first half, when momentum changed for good.
Zaire Taylor came up with a steal off of Tyshawn Taylor and Missouri shifted into top gear in transition. The ball ended up in the hands of J.T. Tiller, who could not finish a lay up attempt, the story of the day for the Tigers. Morris rebounded the ball and sent the 'Hawks in transition, eventually ending in Cole Aldrich setting off the Allen Fieldhouse crowd with a thunderous fast break dunk off a Tyshawn Taylor assist. Less than four minutes later, Missouri found itself trying to end a 14-0 run and cauterize a wound that went from dripping to gushing.
Would Missouri have won in Lawrence if Tiller had finished the play? Probably not. Is it logical to think Missouri was going to run the table in Lawrence and the next week against Oklahoma and Texas A&M? Doubtful. But, the longer Missouri could have counter-punched Kansas' series of blows, the more legitimacy the Tigers could have maintained, legitimacy that went by the wayside with each Collins jumper and each Aldrich alley-oop.
Tiller's miss and Aldrich's subsequent finish started a 16,000-person party that didn't end for another two and a half hours.