Strong three-point shooting in the first half and free throw shooting throughout the game by Missouri kept Kansas University's men's basketball team from outright winning the Big 12 Conference regular season title.
The Tigers defeated the Jayhawks, 72-68, Sunday in the new Missouri Sports Arena, ending the Jayhawks' hopes of a solo league championship. Kansas finished tied with Oklahoma atop the standings, but the Sooners won the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Tournament thanks to their victory over the Jayhawks earlier this season.
Missouri led 43-34 at halftime behind 8-of-10 shooting from behind the three-point line, overcoming an early 8-0 lead by KU. The Jayhawks' momentum died after Keith Langford - who scored five points in the first three minutes - left with a leg injury.
Missouri pushed its lead to 15 points, 51-36, five minutes into the second half. The Tigers kept the lead in double digits until the final eight minutes when KU began an 14-3 run that tied the game at 64-all. Kansas was helped by Missouri missing all eight of its three-point attempts in the second half.
J.R. Giddens finished KU's 14-3 spurt with a game-tying three-pointer from the right wing, just the Jayhawks' seventh three-pointer of the game.
Jimmy McKinney then hit a jumper in the lane that gave Missouri a two-point lead with just more than two minutes left. Thomas Gardner gave the Tigers a four-point lead, but Alex Galindo answered with a basket.
Linas Kleiza hit two free throws for a four-point Missouri lead, and Aaron Miles turned the ball over on KU's next possession, effectively ending KU's chances at a victory.
Missouri finished the game 24-of-34 shooting from the foul line, and Kansas was 15-of-18 shooting from the line. The Jayhawks hit just seven of 25 three-point attempts, and the Tigers finished eight of 18 from beyond the arc.
Simien had 17 points, eight rebounds and four fouls for KU, J.R. Giddens had 13 points and two fouls, and Miles had 13 points and five assists.
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Jeff Hawkins had eight points, Darnell Jackson had a point, and Christian Moody had two points before fouling out with 4:58 left. Galindo had eight points, and Russell Robinson had a point.
McKinney had a season-high 21 points for Missouri, Jason Conley had nine points, and Kleiza had 14 points, 14 rebounds and three fouls.
Marshall Brown had three points, Gardner had 23 points, and Kevin Young had a point before fouling out with five minutes left.
The Jayhawks were 23-of-56 shooting from the field, and the Tigers were 20-of-43 shooting from the field. Kansas had 12 turnovers, and Missouri had 16 turnovers.
All stats are unofficial.