Bigs Dominate Mizzou; KU Wins, 84-65

Never bring a squirt gun to a Border War. That was the tough lesson learned by the smallish Missouri Slavers Monday night in Allen Field House.

#2-ranked Kansas' front line of Cole Aldrich, Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris combined for 38 points and 36 rebounds and Tyrel Reed added 14 points to the Jayhawk cause en route to an 84-65 win over the Slavers Monday night in Allen Field House.

Aldrich continued to bounce back from the passing of his grandmother and went for 12 points and 16 rebounds. He also flirted with a second career triple double with seven blocks. Marcus Morris continued his run of great play in the conference with 17 points and nine boards. Markieff Morris came off the bench and kicked in nine points and 11 rebounds – 10 of those board in 11 first-half minutes. As a team, Kansas out-rebounded Mizzou, 56-28.

"We knew we had size and we knew we had to rebound hard. That's a tough team because they're really gonna hit the boards hard," Aldrich said.

Marcus Morris added, "We knew their bigs were undersized and we tried to jump on the offensive rebounding and get some points on the glass." The Jayhawks collected 18 offensive rebounds.

"That's a big number," remarked KU coach Bill Self upon hearing the rebounding differential. "The halftime number was the big number (37-15), but our big guys were unbelievable on the glass in the first half."

Kansas trailed early, 8-3, but went on a 18-5 run over the next 8:22. In that stretch, Missouri went nearly five minutes without a field goal. They finished the first half shooting just 25% (10 of 40).

Kansas continued to build a lead and was ahead at the break, 50-30. The capper was a Markieff Morris rebound and outlet to Brady Morningstar with just six seconds left. Morningstar pushed the ball and threw up a 25-footer at the buzzer that hit the rim, bounced up and came back down through the basket.

"I thought we played really good the first half, great energy," Self said. "Second half, I didn't think we played very well at all. But I'm not gonna sit here and apologize for beating Mizzou by 19. They're a good team."

The Slavers' shooting improved in the second half, but not much. They hit on 32.1% in the second, 27.9% for the game. They did, however, play with much more energy. MU coach Mike Anderson's trademark chaotic defense – along with "boneheaded" passing mistakes, according to Self – forced 23 KU turnovers against just five for MU.

Missouri's abysmal shooting, however, outweighed anything else they did right. By the time the second half rolled around, the Slavers had dug themselves into a hole that was too deep to climb out of on the road against the country's #2 team.

"I thought the key to putting the game away was playing well the first four or five minutes and we just kinda puttered around and traded baskets," Self said. "We didn't finish the game the way I would've liked."

Sherron Collins scored just six points on 2-of-11 shooting and had two assists against four turnovers. Self said he wasn't terribly concerned.

"Tonight, he didn't have one of his better outings, but whenever your leading scorer gets (six) points and you still score 84, that's not a bad thing. We had a lot of guys step up, and nobody stepped up bigger than Tyrel (Reed). I thought Tyrel was really great for us tonight."

Reed hit on 5-of-6 shots – 4-for-4 from behind the arc – for 14 points in just 19 minutes and continued to show a more complete game, including defense, Self said.

Reed said there wasn't any magic formula to his performance.

"Just confidence. Guys got me the ball and I was knocking down shots. Give credit to all the other guys," he said.

Xavier Henry and Morningstar scored nine points; Tyshawn Taylor had seven to go with three assists; and Jeff Withey dropped a late free throw.

One rivalry game down, one more to go: Kansas (19-1 overall, 5-0 in the Big 12) takes the short roadtrip down Highway 24 to Manhattan to take on 11th-ranked Kansas State Saturday afternoon. Kansas State travels to Koreshville to play Baylor Tuesday night. ESPN College Gameday will be broadcasting from Bramlage Coliseum Saturday, so if you've ever wanted to punch Digger Phelps in the throat, here's your chance.

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