COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP)—Kansas coach Bill Self anticipated another down-to-the-wire game at Missouri. Instead, he nearly got a blowout.
Julian Wright set a career high with 33 points to go with 12 rebounds, and No. 9 Kansas held the Tigers without a basket for more than nine minutes of the first half in a 92-74 victory Saturday. It was Missouri’s most lopsided loss in the border rivalry since a 23-point setback on Feb. 5, 1966.
The previous three meetings at Missouri had been decided by four points or fewer, and Kansas won by three points at home last month.
“I think winning at Missouri since we’ve been here, all three have been a last-possession game,” Self said. “I thought this would be one of those types of games as well.
“But we played well. The last two games we’ve kind of been at that magic level.”
Brandon Rush added 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting and Sherron Collins had 14 for Kansas (21-4, 8-2 Big 12), which won for the first time in three tries at Mizzou Arena three days after beating Kansas State by 27 points. The Jayhawks have won three straight road games and 15 of 17 overall, this time giving Self his 300th career win.
“Coach has been stressing all year to just be simple, and I was able to make the simple plays,” Wright said. “We were able to get past the press and get layups.”
The rivalry produced the third sellout of the season along with an electric atmosphere, at least in the early going. Team mascot Truman the Tiger was lowered in a harness from the rafters, a pregame staple at the old Hearnes Center, for the first time at the new building.
Then, during an early break, tight end Martin Rucker hoisted the ceremonial drum awarded to the winner of the annual Missouri-Kansas football game to raucous cheers.
“The crowd was crazy,” said Rush, younger brother of former Missouri star Kareem Rush. “Especially around the shootaround, they talk so bad about you. They just don’t stop.”
The trappings helped for a little while. Then Kansas neutralized the crowd with a 24-2 run that transformed a 16-8 deficit into a 32-18 lead with 5:25 to go. The lead was in double digits the rest of the way as the Jayhawks won for the 12th time in the last 15 meetings.
“We got out of the gates pretty good,” Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. “Great atmosphere, great crowd. Then we did some of the things that have haunted us all year.”
Stefhon Hannah had 19 points and Kalen Grimes 16 for Missouri (14-9, 3-7), which is 1-4 at home in the Big 12 after going 11-0 in non-conference play. Hannah, the Tigers’ point guard, also committed five turnovers in the first half.
Marshall Brown, the team’s third-leading scorer with an 11-point average, hit the game’s first basket but then finished with only three points.
“Where is Marshall Brown in this game?” Anderson said. “That’s what you say to yourself.”
The game came on the one-year anniversary of the forced resignation of Missouri coach Quin Snyder.
Wright, averaging 11 points per games this season, averaged five in three previous career games against Missouri. He had nine points in the big run and 15 in the first half en route to easily topping his previous best of 23 points against Rhode Island on Dec. 30, going 14-for-21 from the field.
“He was talking the whole game about how he’s going to come in his ‘beast’ mode again,” Rush said. “And he did it again, so I’m pretty proud of him.
“He’s the only person I know that’s scored 30 points on this team.”
Missouri missed 15 straight shots in the first half after starting 6-for-10 and taking an eight-point lead on Hannah’s 3-pointer with 14:12 left. It was a long, long wait for the next basket, a putback by Grimes with 5:05 to go.
“That was hard,” Grimes said. “They’re just one of the best teams in the conference, let alone the country, so it’s going to be tough.”
Kansas built the lead to 17 points with the help of a technical on Anderson, presumably for griping about a disparity in fouls. The Jayhawks were 9-for-11 at the line in the half, Missouri 5-for-7.
Fans unhappy with Missouri getting whistled for eight of the first nine fouls rained debris on the officials as they left the floor at halftime with Kansas leading 47-33.
But Anderson noted that his players too often settled for the outside shot. Missouri took nearly half of its 64 shots from 3-point range, going 8-for-30.