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Missouri vs. Kentucky: a history

Mostly gross, with brief, encouraging flashes (and Jabari Brown dunks).

Kentucky at Missouri Rich Sugg/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images

One of the cool things about your team playing against a historical powerhouse — in this case, Kentucky (1:00 p.m. CT at Mizzou Arena on CBS) — is that said historical powerhouse often has a really cool statistical archive online.

You know me by now: if I have a chance to look into old stats on something, I’m going to do it, even if it’s kind of depressing. Well, it doesn’t get much more depressing than Missouri’s basketball history against Kentucky! And yet, here we are! has the box score for all 10 of UK’s historical wins over Missouri. Not all of them are completely depressing, so let’s dive into them!

Dec. 31, 1960: No. 19 Kentucky 81, Missouri 69 in Lexington

Missouri was in its second-to-last season under Sparky Stalcup, and while things had gone well in the early- and mid-1950s (with players such as Norm Stewart), the program was fading. Mizzou would go 11-13 in 1960-61, and Kentucky, three years removed from a national title, would 19-9 and reach the Elite Eight.

With that context, the result here was predictable. In front of 6,000 in Lexington’s Memorial Coliseum, UK got 29 points from Bill Likert and 21 from Larry Pursiful. Mizzou’s Charles Henke posted 27 points and 12 boards, but the Tigers were outmanned.

Dec. 17, 1971: No. 7 Kentucky 83, Missouri 79 in Lexington

For the first time since maybe about 1955, Missouri could nearly consider itself Kentucky’s equal in 1971-72. It was Stewart’s fifth year in charge, and Mizzou would go 21-6, missing out on a potential tourney run only because of the “one team per conference” rule. The Tigers would peak at 14th in the polls, and UK would peak at seventh, eventually reaching the Elite Eight once again in a weaker SEC.

This was the perfect time to potentially steal a win from UK, but the Wildcats still had the advantage in Lexington. Mizzou’s John Brown did John Brown things, scoring 34 points on 13-for-25 shooting, but five Wildcats scored in double figures (led by Jim Andrews’ 18), and UK held on in front of 11,500 at Memorial.

Nov. 26, 1997: No. 8 Kentucky 77, Missouri 55 in Hawaii

Kentucky V Mississippi
Jamaal Magloire was good

Ugh, I remember this one, as it was my freshman year at Mizzou. Norm’s Tigers were downright salty at home, eventually beating No. 3 Kansas, No. 10 Iowa, and No. 20 Maryland at the Hearnes Center. But they were dreck away from Hearnes. They eked by DePaul, 45-42, in an ugly first-round game in the Maui Invitational, then lost to Duke and Kentucky by a combined 45 points.

This one came down to “Kentucky had Jamaal Magloire and Mizzou didn’t.” The blue-chipper posted 18 and 17, and the Wildcats cruised to a win despite shooting only 42 percent. They out-rebounded Mizzou by 17, and no Tiger scored more than 11. John Woods did hit three 3-pointers for MU, but the rest of the team only made a combined three. Kentucky would go on to win the national title; Mizzou would lose to UAB in the NIT.

Dec. 30, 1999: Kentucky 70, Missouri 53 in New Orleans

In Quin Snyder’s first season, Mizzou scheduled a random neutral-courter against UK during Christmas break. Tubby Smith’s Wildcats weren’t great (they’d go 23-10 and lose in the second round of the NCAAs), but they still had Magloire (21 points, 13 rebounds), and Mizzou had T.J. Soyoye (seven points, four rebounds) and almost literally nothing else on the interior.

This was a fun, super-small Mizzou team, but the Tigers went just 7-for-26 from 3-point range, and that doomed them. They got 19 points and three steals from Keyon Dooling, but the size difference was too great.

Missouri v Kentucky Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT via Getty Images

Feb. 23, 2013: Kentucky 90, Missouri 83 (OT) in Lexington

You don’t get many clear chances to win at Rupp Arena, and Mizzou wasted one in 2012-13. This Kentucky team would go on to reach only the NIT after winning the national title in 2012 and replacing almost everybody from that team. Mizzou, meanwhile, would reach as high as 17th in the KenPom ratings before fading at the end of the season.

Mizzou led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but UK cut the lead to four at halftime, then took a seven-point lead with about seven minutes left. Mizzou charged back to force overtime, but it was all UK in the extra period. Phil Pressey went nuts in this one (27 points, 10 assists), and Alex Oriakhi posted 16 points and nine rebounds, but Mizzou went just 5-for-20 from 3-point range and let this one slip away.

Feb. 1, 2014: No. 11 Kentucky 84, Missouri 79 in Columbia

The Jordan Clarkson- and Jabari Brown-led Tigers were 16-4 heading into this game, but the team’s flaws (namely, a dreadful lack of depth after Clarkson, Brown, and Earnest Ross) were beginning to show. And despite this...

...and 31 other points from Brown, Mizzou couldn’t charge back after falling behind by as much as 16 points early in the second half. This was officially the last chance the Tigers would have a decent shot at UK.

Jan. 13, 2015: No. 1 Kentucky 86, Missouri 37 in Lexington

LOL, oh god.

Jan. 29, 2015: No. 1 Kentucky 69, Missouri 53 in Columbia

Bless Mizzou for trying. This one was tied at 19-19 about 13 minutes in, and the Tigers would get a solid 19 points, four assists, four rebounds, and three steals from Wes Clark. But the 20-0 Wildcats would ease ahead, pull away, and throw it into cruise control.

Jan. 27, 2016: No. 20 Kentucky 88, Missouri 54 in Lexington

Goodness, Mizzou was terrible these last three years.

Feb. 21, 2017: No. 11 Kentucky 72, Missouri 62 in Columbia

Mizzou tends to show well against UK at Mizzou Arena, I’ll say that. Last year’s Mizzou team was as outmanned as ever but led 28-24 late in the first half thanks to stellar efforts from Terrence Phillips (22 points, three assists) and Jordan Barnett (13 points, six rebounds). But Bam Adebayo posted a 22 & 11, and Mizzou just couldn’t stay ahead of De’Aaron Fox. Mizzou stayed within about six in the closing minutes but couldn’t get closer.

So basically...

  • The 1971 game was encouraging.
  • The 2013-14 games were disappointing.
  • Jabari Brown’s dunk was awesome.
  • Mizzou usually plays pretty well at Mizzou Arena.

Everything else: yuck. But hey, Mizzou hasn’t had this good a chance at beating UK in four years. We’ll see if the Tigers can take advantage.