The Tigers got caught up in “the Phog” in Lawrence on Monday night, dropping a high-scoring shootout to the Jayhawks, 103-86.
No. 20 Missouri falls to 18-6 overall and 4-5 in conference, missing another opportunity to capture their first Big 12 road win. No. 2 Kansas improves to 23-1 overall and 8-1 in conference as they extended their current winning streak to five.
A productive, 57-point second half propelled the Jayhawks to their first 100-point game in conference, and only their second time breaking the century mark all year.
Junior forward Ricardo Ratliffe saw some bright spots in the road loss.
“We played the no. 2 team in the nation and we had them for a while,” Ratliffe said. “They just made a longer run than we did and we did not make a response at the right time. We just have to put it all together and play together as a team.”
Each team had five players in double figures in the barnburner. Junior forward Laurence Bowers led the Tigers with 19 points and five rebounds. Freshman guard Phil Pressey impressed with 17 points on 4-for-5 from deep and a team-high six assists.
Ratliffe was feeling it early, shooting 5-for-5 including his first two Division 1 three-pointers. Foul trouble later in the game kept him from adding to the hot start.
Missouri kept it close and even held the lead for much of the first half, resulting in a 46-42 halftime score. But the second half inside the deafening Allen Fieldhouse was another story.
Every time the Tigers tried to claw back, the Jayhawks would come up with a big play to reestablish the lead. An alley-oop inbounds play to junior forward Marcus Morris extended the lead to ten early in the second half, and Kansas never looked back. The Jayhawks closed it out as they led by at least 12 points for the final ten minutes of the game.
Coach Mike Anderson didn’t see a complete game from his players in this one, especially defensively.
“I thought they played well in the second half,” Anderson said. “They went on one of those spurts where they made a lot of threes and just go the game expanded to their benefit. I was happy with our guys’ effort, we just needed more than 20 to 25 minutes.”
The best-shooting team in the nation proved true to form Monday night (52-percent as a team this year), as Kansas shot 60-percent from the field. The Jayhawks nearly matched that mark from beyond the arc, hitting 11-of-19 three-pointers to Missouri’s 8-of-21.
The damage done on the perimeter was balanced out by dominance in the paint by Kansas. The Jayhawks outrebounded the Tigers 38-21, including 14 offensive boards leading to 19 second-chance points. Missouri had no answer for the Morris brothers inside as they combined for 38 points.
Some foul trouble for the Missouri big men really hurt that inside presence. Ratliffe sitting on the bench after a dominant first half brought the whole team down.
“When he got that third foul, it kind of broke our faith a little bit,” Bowers said. “I thought he played well through it. He fouled out, but he gave it his all.”
The border rivals will meet again next month when the Jayhawks come to Columbia for the two teams’ final regular season game.
Missouri has now lost three of its last four games, all four being played in the last ten days. The Tigers will return home to take on Oklahoma at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.