Missouri does enough to win

In one of the sloppiest games of the season, Missouri survived its first round game Big 12 Conference Tournament game vs. Texas A&M thanks primarily to timely outside shooting and an excellent free throw percentage. Kansas is up next.

Coming off Arthur Johnson's career scoring effort vs. Kansas in the regular season finale, it would have been a safe bet that Missouri (16-12) would feed the big man all night vs. the small Texas A&M Aggies (7-21).

That's why no bet is ever safe.

Missouri stumbled and fumbled their way to a 74-68 victory on Thursday night. An aggressive Jason Conley hit consecutive 3-pointers during a 9-0 run late in the second half to provide the Tigers with the cushion they needed.

On incredibly hot shooting by Antoine Wright, A&M led by nine in the opening minutes, but trailed by five at halftime. Down seven early in the second half, the Aggies rallied to lead 54-53 with 7:42 left on a free throw by Wright, who scored 22 points.

Missouri kept the game close throughout the contest by mishandling passes, swatting at rebounds and making poor decisions. On one such sequence, Rickey Paulding found himself leading a four-on-one break and decided to take the shot himself while his teammates were open on the wings. Paulding missed the dunk and the Aggies retrieve the rebound.

It was that kind of night for Paulding and Missouri.

The Tigers were led by Jimmy McKinney who was sterling on the night. McKinney had 20 points, hitting 5-of-6 shots - all 3-pointers. He was also perfect from the free throw line, which has been an area of difficulty lately for Missouri.

Arthur Johnson added 14 points and Travon Bryant had 16 points and nine rebounds.

Missouri takes on Kansas tonight in the nightcap.

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