KU Prevails in Overtime Thriller With Mizzou, 87-86

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson made it a memorable ending
for Kansas.

Robinson kept the game going with a three-point play in the
closing seconds of regulation, and Taylor's two free throws with
8.3 seconds left in overtime gave the fourth-ranked Jayhawks an
87-86 win over No. 3 Missouri on Saturday in their final scheduled
regular-season matchup.

The Tigers, who blew a 19-point second-half lead, never got a
potential winning shot off in the final seconds. Michael Dixon was
boxed in by Robinson as he tried to get to the basket, and the
buzzer eventually sounded on a 105-year-old rivalry steeped in
tradition.

Robinson finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds for Kansas
(24-5, 14-2), which wrapped up at least a share of its eighth
straight Big 12 title. Taylor added 24 points, seven in overtime.
Marcus Denmon had 28 points to lead Missouri (25-4, 12-4), which
heads off to the Southeastern Conference next season. Ricardo
Ratliffe finished with 22 points, Dixon had 17 and Kim English 11.

The Tigers controlled the game early in the second half, but
Kansas methodically chopped away, Robinson working inside and the
Jayhawks taking advantage of the Tigers' foul trouble.

Robinson's basket inside with 2:28 remaining got the Jayhawks
within 71-70, and Travis Releford answered a basket by Denmon with
two free throws. Ratliffe restored a three-point lead with two free
throws, but the Jayhawks still had time to draw even.

Robinson took a feed in the post and backed down Dixon, getting
the leaner to go as he was undercut for the foul. His free throw
with 16.1 seconds left tied the game at 75.

The Tigers had the final possession, clearing the lane for Phil
Pressey to drive to the rim. But Robinson was there once more,
swatting away his shot to force overtime.

Kansas struck first in the extra session when Taylor curled in a
3-pointer. Denmon's 3-pointer kept them close, and his 3 from the
wing with 39 seconds remaining gave Missouri an 84-83 lead.
Taylor pushed Kansas back ahead when he dunked off a bounce pass from Elijah Johnson with 26.2 seconds left, and Denmon's baseline jumper with 12 seconds left set the stage for high drama.
As if the series could have ended any other way.

The schools started playing in 1907, and joined the same
conference the following year, setting the stage for more than a
century of animosity. There have been bench-clearing brawls,
game-winning shots and enough colorful characters to make both
sides proud.

But all that has come to an end with the Tigers departing for
the SEC next season. Officials from Kansas have no intention
playing out of conference, feeling as though Missouri jilted fellow
members of the Big 12 and nearly brought the league to ruin with
their decision to leave.

It turned out the finale couldn't have been much bigger.

Students began lining up for prime seats at daybreak last
Sunday, and thousands formed a mob outside Allen Fieldhouse leading
up to tipoff. They poured into the venerable gym the moment the
doors cracked open, working themselves into a wall of noise during
player introductions.

The sound registered at 120.2 decibels, roughly equal to that of
a jet engine.

The opening few minutes of the 267th meeting lived up to the
billing, both teams pounding away at each other with the passion
and fury that can only be cultivated over a century of games.
Ratliffe and Robinson were engaged in their own personal duel
early, the big man for Missouri with eight of his team's first 10
points and Robinson scoring 10 by halftime.

The lead went back-and-forth until the 4:43 mark, when Johnson
picked up his third foul and Pressey's free throws gave Missouri a
33-31 lead. Robinson was called for charging at the other end,
sending the Jayhawks' star forward to the bench with two fouls, and
Pressey added a 3-pointer moments later to give the Tigers some
breathing room.

Denmon reprised his late-game heroics from the first meeting,
when he lit up the nets down the stretch, by doing the same thing
in the final minutes of the first half.

First, he buried a 3-pointer right in front of the Kansas bench.
Then he added a jumper in the paint, and finished off the flurry by
tracking down a loose ball in the waning seconds and knocking down
his third 3 of the game, giving the Tigers a 44-32 lead.

It was the biggest lead either team had in the opening 20
minutes.

The Tigers didn't let up after the break, either. Ratliffe went
back to work inside, Denmon and English hit from the perimeter, and
Missouri pushed the lead to 55-36 with 16:57 left.

That deafening noise inside the Phog?

It was quiet enough that the cheerleaders' pom-pons could be
heard from the stands.

It didn't stay that way for long.

The Jayhawks slowly began to get back in the game, and the
volume slowly began to rise. Kevin Young's dunk and Connor Teahan's
3-pointer got the crowd on its feet, and Robinson's third-chance
basket trimmed the lead to 67-58 with 8:56, forcing Missouri coach
Frank Haith to call a timeout.

The Jayhawks simply kept coming, persevering through their own
foul trouble and ultimately relying on its two best players -- Robinson and Taylor -- when it mattered most.

Kansas's 22nd straight win at Allen Fieldhouse ensured its 12th
title in the 16-year history of the Big 12, one that will be especially sweet given it was clinched against Missouri.


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