Crossing over to their side of the border was no help for the Tigers. Kansas dominated Missouri by 19 points Jan. 25 in Lawrence, Kan., and then spoiled Missouri's senior sendoff Saturday afternoon at Mizzou Arena, this time downing the Tigers 77-56.
"I thought they probably played one of their more complete games that I've seen," coach Mike Anderson said. "Their bench outplayed our bench. And I thought it was a game where we had some bad lulls at the wrong time."
The end of the first half was one of those times. Kansas tamed the Tigers for the final 4:08 of the first half, holding Missouri scoreless. The Jayhawks, meanwhile, piled on points and ended the first 20 minutes on a 16-0 run, leading 40-24.
"Guys probably got tired," senior forward Keith Ramsey said. "They're a good team. We knew they were going to make a run but not a 16-point run. It would've been OK if it was a little eight-point run or something like that, but a double-digit run hurt us bad."
Ramsey did his part during the senior game, scoring eight points and bringing down six rebounds. Due to the absence of injured junior forward Justin Safford, Ramsey logged a game-high 36 minutes. Like they did on their home court in the first matchup, the Jayhawks dominated the boards, pulling down 45 rebounds compared to 28 for Missouri.
"You can't play a team with (Kansas') kind of size and not miss a guy like Justin Safford," Anderson said. "We're not the biggest team, but losing a guy like that really hurts in a game of this magnitude."
After ending the first half on such a sour note, the Tigers came out in the second half with fire. Sophomore guard Kim English hit one of the team's three 3-pointers of the day to get the scoring started. Senior guard J.T. Tiller added some punch as well, finishing a layup and sinking the following free throw to cap a 16-2 run by Missouri. Just like that, the Tigers narrowed Kansas' lead to four, 44-40.
The momentum did not carry much further. Kansas regained control, surging to a 17-2 run, fueled by two 3-pointers in a span of 30 seconds by junior guard Tyrel Reed.
"When they were good, we were really bad," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "And when we were good, they weren't as good."
When Missouri was hot, it was on fire. The ball seemed to swish through the hoop with ease. But when things took a turn for the worse, the Tigers could not buy a basket. Overall, the team struggled to just 23-of-65 from the field.
From beyond the arc, the Tigers made three of their 22 shots, including one of 11 in the first half. Sophomore guard Marcus Denmon failed to drain any of his five 3-point attempts and contributed just four points.
"We were getting open looks," Tiller said. "Everybody knows that on any other night Marcus Denmon would have knocked all those shots down. It was just the luck of the draw today, and we just couldn't knock down all of our shots."