Missouri Topples K-State

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Marcus Denmon scored nine of his 14 points in the final six minutes and Zaire Taylor hit a big 3-pointer late, lifting Missouri to a gritty 74-68 win over No. 11 Kansas State on Saturday in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

Missouri (13-3) overcame poor free-throw shooting with tenacious defense and huge plays down the stretch to extend the nation's second-longest home winning streak to 30 games. Taylor had 14 points and Laurence Bowers finished off the Tigers' eighth straight win with two free throws and a dunk in the final 13 seconds.

Kansas State (13-2) matched Missouri's defense in an ugly stop-and-start game that featured poor shooting, 56 fouls and 41 turnovers. The Wildcats just couldn't keep their composure against the Tigers' pressure, losing for the 24th time in their last 26 games in Columbia.

Jacob Pullen scored 21 and Denis Clemente had 16 for Kansas State.

Missouri went without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes in the second half and found itself trailing 53-48 after Kansas State went on a 14-2 run. Denmon got the Tigers back on track with consecutive 3-pointers, then hit a jumper and a free throw to put them up 66-63 with just over a minute left.

Pullen answered with a long 3-pointer, but Taylor came right back with a 3 at the other end, putting Missouri up 69-66 with 33 seconds left.

Dominique Sutton scored off a blocked shot to cut the lead to one, but Kansas State couldn't keep Bowers off the glass after J.T. Tiller missed the second of two free throws. Bowers hit two free throws with 13 seconds left and threw down a breakaway dunk after the last of Kansas State's 21 turnovers.

This game was supposed to be a blur, like a shaky-camera chase scene in one of those Jason Bourne movies.

Missouri calls its brand of breakneck hoops "The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball" and leads the nation in steals and turnovers forced.

The Wildcats don't have any nifty catch phrases, but they can play a little defense, too. Led by Dominique Sutton, a shutdown corner of a forward, Kansas State has gotten 25 percent of its scoring off turnovers in Frank Martin's three years as coach and is averaging 22.3 points per game this year.

Instead of a race, this game turned into a parking lot. The officials called 16 fouls in the first 10 minutes, 25 in the first half and just kept going.

It probably shouldn't have been a surprise: Kansas State leads the nation in drawing fouls at 26.1 per game and commits 21.6 per game, most in any major conference.

The fouls turned the track meet everyone expected into a free-throw shooting contest neither team seemed destined to win.

Missouri, a 72-percent free throw shooting team on the season, went 28 for 43 from the line, drawing groans from the home crowd with each miss. Kansas State was only a percentage point better at 20 for 30.

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