Originally published March 7, 2010 at 12:00a.m., updated March 7, 2010 at 09:29a.m.
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Columbia, Mo. Kansas University combo guard Tyrel Reed pumped his chest twice with his right fist, then stared in the direction of Missouri’s Antlers after cashing his third lethal three-pointer against the rival Tigers on Saturday afternoon in Mizzou Arena.
Reed was all fired up after nailing back-to-back second-half treys that sparked the Jayhawks to a resounding 77-56 victory — KU’s most lopsided victory in Columbia in 44 years.
“When he does that, he’s letting us know he’s real confident,” KU senior guard Sherron Collins said of the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Burlington bomber, who barked in the direction of MU’s J.T. Tiller after icing a three from the right corner with 9:22 left, KU up, 51-42.
He hit the three from the left wing — silencing the fans in MU’s raucous student section — on the ensuing possession, boosting KU’s lead to 15 points with 8:51 to play.
“He (Reed) can really play when he’s on his game,” Collins said.
That’s usually the case when No. 2 KU (29-2 overall, 15-1 Big 12) meets rival Mizzou (22-9, 10-6).
Reed, who finished Saturday’s game with 11 points off 3-of-5 three-point shooting with three rebounds and an assist in 19 minutes, scored 14 points off 5-of-6 shooting (4-for-4 from three) in KU’s 84-65 win over the Tigers on Jan. 25 in Allen Fieldhouse.
“I don’t personally feel like a Missouri-killer at all,” said Reed, a soft-spoken guy (off the court), who replied, “that’s all right” when informed he’d hit seven of nine from beyond the arc against MU this season.
He hit three of four threes in a home victory over MU his sophomore year, cooling to 3-of-8 from three in a loss in Columbia.
“I grew up watching the KU-Missouri games,” he said. “Fortunately, I seem to play well against Missouri.”
Same goes for his teammates.
The Jayhawks are 12-3 versus Mizzou in the seven-year Bill Self era. MU’s Mike Anderson is 1-8 against KU overall, 1-7 in his four years in Columbia. The one KU loss versus the former UAB coach was a tough one.
The Jayhawks blew a 14-point halftime lead in last year’s 62-60 setback at Mizzou Arena.
On Saturday, KU saw a 16-point halftime lead (40-24) and 18-point second-half advantage (42-24 at 19:51) dip to four points (44-40) with 12:50 remaining.
“For a second, I was like, ‘C’mon guys.’ When I say ‘guys,’ I include myself,” said Reed, disgusted with the developments.
“I said, ‘We’ve got to start playing again.’ Coach called timeout and got us refocused. We did a great job battling back and keeping our composure. We did a better job after that,” added Reed, who insists he has no ulterior motives when he celebrates his big shots.
“I might look into the crowd or at our bench, but not at one particular person,” Reed said.
Collins hit two free throws, Xavier Henry a layup and foul shot and Collins a layup to open a 22-4 surge that put it away, 66-44, with just over six minutes left. Remember, Reed’s two threes came in the middle of that run.
“They were probably the two biggest shots of the game. They gave us some breathing room,” Collins said.
Leading big at the half, Self reminded his troops of last year’s loss at MU.
“He said, ‘We’ve been in this position before and come out sad,’’’ Reed said.
“That talk was so good we came out and almost gave it all away in the first eight minutes,” Self cracked.
Yet KU was able to withstand a 16-2 MU run that sliced the deficit to four.
“I’d like to say we have a little more maturity. We’re an older team. We were in this position before,” Reed said, asked why KU didn’t squander the lead in its entirety this time.
KU received big contributions from his bench on a day starting guard Tyshawn Taylor led all KU scorers with 13 points off 5-of-13 shooting (he opened 0-for-8). Reed had 11 points, while Markieff Morris (five boards) scored six points at the start of a 30-7 run that obliterated an early 17-10 deficit.
“ Our bench kept our starters fresh. I thought they all contributed in a positive way,” Self said. “We did fight hard. I thought when you watched us play, you really couldn’t tell who our best five players were.”
Marcus Morris, Collins and Cole Aldrich scored 12, 12 and 10 respectively.
“The thing that’s good from a coach’s standpoint is we’re up, 32-24, and you look out there, and Henry (Xavier, seven points), Taylor and Collins hadn’t scored yet, and Cole hadn’t been a factor,” Self said.
KU’s runaway victory — biggest in Columbia since a 77-54 decision on Feb. 5, 1966 — completed a 15-1 league season. KU finished four games ahead of Kansas State, Baylor and Texas A&M (11-5).
“We thought it would be the hardest year for us to win league. Our guys have not celebrated league at all. That’s the thing that’s been kind of cool to me. I think they feel there are bigger things out there, and if they stay focused they can get them,” Self said.
Now one victory from 2,000, KU will play either Colorado or Texas Tech at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in a second-round Big 12 Tournament game in Sprint Center. CU and Tech meet at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
• A previous version of this story was updated.