The Border War (Showdown?) made a glorious return today, as Mizzou made the trip to Lawrence to take on Kansas for the first time since 2013. The Phog was electric all game-long, and both sides played with the intensity that you would expect from this game.
The energy in the arena fed Kansas all game-long. Christian Braun accounted for 10 of Kansas’ first 13 points in some fashion. A strong offensive start from Javon Pickett kept the Tigers within reach, but Braun was dicing up the Tiger defense.
It also did not help that the Jayhawks started out 4/5 from the three-point-line, while Missouri really struggled to get clean looks of their own. KU could get anything they wanted in the open floor and pick-and-roll game, and the score line read 23-11 at the under twelve timeout.
Trevon Brazile hit his first three of the season, which cut the Jayhawk lead to 7 after the Tigers had been down double-digits the majority of the half.
Then, momentum swung back in the Jayhawks’ favor. Kobe Brown picked up his second foul and came out of the game. Kansas then extended the lead back to double digits thanks to Cuonzo Martin being T’ed up. He was arguing a couple of no-calls, most recently a potential reach on Agbaji.
Turnovers and some more highlight-reel plays from Braun extended the Jayhawk lead back out to 15. Kansas began to really push the ball up the floor, and the Tigers had no answer.
The half closed out on a large Kansas run. The Jayhawks kept the pressure on Mizzou with suffocating defense, and they closed out the half with a beautiful display of passing to set up a Agbaji 3-pointer at the buzzer. A 49-27 halftime score matched with most pregame predictions.
Kansas continued to dominate to open the half, extending their lead to over 30. Mizzou got sloppy on the offensive side, and at the under 12 timeout, it was all but over.
Another technical foul, this time on Jordan Wilmore, put an even more sour spin on things.
The waning minutes of the game were fairly slow. Kansas maintained their lead, and their starters went to the bench with roughly five minutes left.
This was a mismatch from start to finish. The Jayhawks could score at will in the halfcourt or open floor, and Missouri yet again never appeared to have any flow on offense. The Tigers will host the Jayhawks next year, and a lot may be different for Mizzou by then.
On a brighter note, Javon Pickett had one of his best offensive games of the season with 19 points. On top of that, Brazile began to really look comfortable on both sides of the floor, and Sean Durugordon had 11 points on 3-4 shooting (5-5 FT) in the waning minutes of game time.
Missouri will host Utah (6-3) next Saturday, Dec. 18th, at 3:30 CST on the SEC Network.