Kansas City, Mo. — So we meet again.
A rivalry dating back to 1907 made its unofficial return Sunday afternoon, as the Kansas and Missouri basketball programs squared off in a charity exhibition to raise money for relief organizations.
Though the stats and result won’t go in either team’s record books and the point of the scrimmage was to raise money for a good cause, it didn’t take long for the Jayhawks and Tigers — and a split-down-the-middle sellout crowd — to make it feel more like March than October at Sprint Center.
With senior guard Devonte’ Graham leading the way, the Jayhawks made sure KU fans spilled out of the downtown arena elated, after a 93-87 Kansas victory.
Graham’s 17 first-half points set the tone for the Jayhawks in the charity basketball affair and he finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, while making seven of 15 shots.
Highly touted Tigers freshman Michael Porter Jr. led his team with 21 points, on 6-for-20 shooting.
KU and Mizzou hadn’t squared off on a basketball court since the Tigers left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012, but the players delivered enough effort and highlights to allow the fans from both schools to easily slip back into their roles as bitter nemeses.
View a gallery of images from the Jayhawks' exhibition game against the Missouri Tigers at Sprint Center.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: The Jayhawks embraced an assertive offensive mentality in the second half. After a Kevin Puryear 3-pointer gave Mizzou a two-point advantage, at 59-57, the Jayhawks quickly tied it back up by getting the ball to sophomore big man Udoka Azubuike (16 points) in the paint for a layup.
The next trip down the floor, Malik Newman (17 points, five assists) buried a 3-pointer, and from there, KU steadily built its lead to 17 over the next six-plus minutes.
The barrage included a pretty jumper in the paint by freshman Billy Preston (12 points, four rebounds), a would-be Newman 3-pointer that toed the arc, a string of three straight baskets inside by Azubuike, a Graham 3-pointer, a Marcus Garrett tip-in on the offensive glass and an alley-oop finish by Lagerald Vick (13 points).
• Offensive highlight: Vick’s freakish speed and leaping ability were both on display on one backdoor cut in the second half.
Lurking in the right corner, in front of KU’s bench, the junior wing sold his defender on the idea of loitering on the perimeter.
But the moment Vick caught him looking the other way he blazed down the baseline while looking the way of Graham.
One easy lob pass to the rim later, Vick threw it down, building KU’s lead to 83-66.
• Defensive highlight: With Kansas trailing its rivals from Missouri late in the first half, backup big man Mitch Lightfoot came through with a string of plays by hustling on the defensive end of the floor.
First, Lightfoot, trailing the play, tracked down Blake Harris from behind to swat away a potential easy layup.
On the next Mizzou possession, Lightfoot slid his feet in the paint while anticipating a Kassius Robertson drive and drew a charge.
A half-minute later, Lightfoot was at it again, blocking the shot of Jontay Porter.
A 6-foot-8 sophomore who grew up as a KU fan watching Border War games, Lightfoot gave the Jayhawks a needed spark, and Mizzou only made one of its final 11 shot attempts of the first half, leaving the Tigers with a 42.4-percent success rate on its shot attempts before intermission.
Lightfoot finished the spirited scrimmage with three blocked shots.
• Key stat: Points in the paint. Kansas made a point to get touches in the key, whether those came on drives by guards or post feeds to Azubuike.
By the end of the 40-minute show, KU registered 40 points in the paint and Mizzou totaled just 21.
• Up next: The Jayhawks will be back in Allen Fieldhouse for their originally scheduled exhibition opener, on Halloween night against Pittsburg State.
— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.