Tigers Suffer First Loss At Home This Season

On Tuesday evening at Mizzou Arena, the Kansas State Wildcats (19-8, 8-7) defeated the #3 Missouri Tigers (25-3, 12-3) by the final score of 78-68. Missouri had been unbeaten at home to this point.

On Tuesday evening at Mizzou Arena, the Kansas State Wildcats (19-8, 8-7) defeated the #3 Missouri Tigers (25-3, 12-3) by the final score of 78-68.

The loss knocks the Tigers out of first place in the Big 12 Conference race, a half-game behind the Kansas Jayhawks.

Although Missouri played better this time, in many ways Tuesday night's game mirrored the Tigers 59-75 loss at Kansas State earlier this season.

Kansas State out-rebounded Missouri by a 36-30 margin, and outscored Missouri in the paint 32-26.  The Wildcats outshot the Tigers from the field (54% FG%), from behind the arc (67% 3-PT FG%), and from the FT line (73% FT%).  Kansas State was more physical, more aggressive, and they played better defense than Missouri.

The Wildcats were led by an outstanding performance by 6'4" junior guard Rodney McGruder, who scored 24 points in a nearly flawless effort.  Missouri didn't have anyone who could guard him.

Kansas State got some scoring help off of the bench from 6'7" freshman forward Thomas Gipson, who scored 13 points on 6-7 shooting.

The game may very well have been decided at the point guard position, where K-State's 5'11" freshman PG Angel Rodriguez outplayed Missouri's Phil Pressey.

Rodriguez had help, as 6'7" senior forward Jamar Samuels scored 9 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, and 6'11" junior forward Jordan Henriquez had 4 blocked shots, which appeared to affect Missouri's ability to make shots around the basket.

"We had empty possessions,"  explained Coach Haith following his team's hard-fought loss.  "There length bothered us…………………………….. And, we didn't have any resistance when they got close to the basket."

For Missouri, Mike Dixon came off of the bench to score 21 points.  Marcus Denmon poured in 19 points, and Ricardo Ratliffe scored 9 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Tigers.

"It was a very physical game,"   remarked Coach Haith, who credited Kansas State's defensive play for his team's struggles on the offensive end.


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