Everyone has their favorite memories of the heated and occasionally toxic series with Kansas. Some might even prefer Football as the preferred outlet for the rivalry. But give me the hardwood. Probably because Kansas has always been a ‘Blue Blood’ where at best Missouri was the up-start challenger to their throne in the annals of College Basketball.
If you’re like me where the hoops series carries the most weight, you might remember the epic battles of the late 80s or early 90s. The names Larry Brown or Roy Williams conjure up deeply scarred emotions. For me it’s always been Bill Self.
Self was a remarkable 16-4 against Missouri, not including his 3-0 mark while at Illinois. You can probably remember all four: the 2005 game to wrap the end of the regular season, the 2006 ‘Christian Moody Game’ or ‘Thomas Gardner Game’, the 2009 Zaire Taylor Game, and the final home installment, the 2012 Marcus Denmon Game.
With Missouri moving to the SEC, the last home-and-home series with Kansas was going to have enormous levels of interest, and with both teams inside the top 10 for much of the year, the games would be played with a lot on the line. The game at Mizzou Arena was up first, the place was packed, and it was a hard fought game. But somehow the bad guys were up by eight with a little over two minutes to play. Marcus Denmon had kept Missouri in the game with his shooting but it hadn’t been enough. So he made it enough.
Denmon scored a basket and a foul, converted the free throw to cut the lead to five. After a Kansas charge call, Denmon then hit a three to pull Missouri to within two points. After a KU timeout, Missouri forced another turnover getting the ball back. Denmon found himself with the ball in the corner and rose up and buried a three to put Missouri into the lead after just over a minute of play had gone by.
The clock stood at 56.3 to go in the game, Missouri had a lead they would not relinquish.
One of the reasons I started coming to Rock M Nation with more frequency in the early days was the literary whimsy of Micheal Atchison... he penned this poem, it’s perfect:
The quiet one, so rarely speaks
Unlike both Mike and Kim
His jump shot had been lost for weeks
‘Til he found it in the gym
When the hour was turning late
And the game was on the line
The Tigers needed more than eight
So he simply gave them nine
From Bill C’s Study Hall after the game:
It is just impossible to quantify how good Marcus Denmon was yesterday. In his previous five games, Denmon had made five of 31 3-pointers. Last night, he made six of nine. In his previous four games, he had averaged 4.5 rebounds per game. Last night, he doubled that. He lost his jumper at the beginning of the second half, but to say the least, he found it again at the end. He was magnificent