Missouri 78, Northwestern 67

The SportsXchange

LAS VEGAS -- Jordan Clarkson scored a team-high 21 points, and Missouri overpowered Northwestern 78-67 Thursday night in the Las Vegas Invitational at the Orleans Arena.

The game was the first of the season on the bench for Tigers coach Frank Haith, who sat out the first five games while serving an NCAA suspension related to violations that occurred when he was the head coach at Miami (Fla.).

Guard Jabari Brown scored 15 points, and Tigers big men Ryan Rosburg and Johnathan Williams each scored career highs of 14 points for Missouri (6-0). The Tigers finished with huge edges in rebounds (35-19) and points in the paint (40-14).

Guard JerShon Cobb scored 22 points, and freshman forward Nathan Taphorn and guard Tre Demps each added 11 points for Northwestern (4-3). The Wildcats fell to 0-3 in games in which they were outrebounded.

Cobb scored 16 of his points in the first half, and Northwestern hit six of 13 first-half 3-point attempts to take a 39-34 lead at the break.

However, the second half couldn't have started any worse for coach Chris Collins' Wildcats.

Northwestern missed its first six shots while Missouri scored 14 consecutive points to take 48-39 lead. Worse yet, Wildcats 7-foot sophomore center Alex Olah went to the bench with his fourth foul with 18:22 to go, opening the middle for Rosburg and Williams, who dominated inside.

Clarkson's fast-break dunk extended Missouri's lead to 66-54 with 9:24 remaining, and the Wildcats never got any closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Missouri took advantage of some cold shooting by the Wildcats to take an early 20-13 lead. Northwestern, which connected on four of its first five attempts, made just one its next nine shots during an eight-minute stretch.

Cobb and Taphorn then got hot for the Wildcats. Both connected on a pair of 3-pointers in the final 7:11, and Cobb ended the half with a 19-footer from the top of the key to give Northwestern a 39-34 lead at the break.

Northwestern wound up shooting 9-for-24 (37.5 percent) on 3-point attempts, 19-for-45 (42.2 percent) overall. Missouri shot 25-for-47 (53.2 percent) from the floor.

NOTES: Northwestern was playing its first game in Las Vegas since a 1977 appearance in the Las Vegas Classic. That year, the Wildcats lost 101-95 to UNLV before defeating Tennessee 93-86. ... Despite being situated around 400 miles apart, Missouri and Northwestern met for the first time in 45 years. The teams last faced off Dec. 5, 1968, in Evanston, Ill., with Dale Kelley scoring a game-high 20 points in the Wildcats' 67-60 victory. ... Northwestern finishes Las Vegas Invitational play against UCLA, a 105-84 winner over Nevada earlier Thursday, on Friday night after Missouri faces the Wolf Pack. Because Missouri and UCLA already were scheduled to play on Dec. 7 in Columbia, Mo., it was agreed during the summer they would not also play in the LVI.
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