Missouri beats Northwestern 78-67

W.G. RAMIREZ (Associated Press)
The Associated Press
Missouri beats Northwestern 78-67
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Missouri guard Earnest Ross dunks the ball in the first half of a game against Northwestern during the Las Vegas Invitational NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Ronda Churchill)

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Jordan Clarkson scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half to lead Missouri to a 78-67 win over Northwestern in Thursday night's opening round of the Las Vegas Invitational.

The Tigers, who played on Thanksgiving Day for the second consecutive year, scored the first 14 points of the second half to erase a five-point halftime deficit and take a 48-39 lead at the 15:10 mark and never looked back.

After Northwestern's second-half drought was ended by JerShon Cobb, who scored a game-high 22 points, the Tigers extended their lead to 13, when Jabari Brown hit a 3-pointer to give them a 54-41 advantage.

Missouri (6-0) went from shooting 0-for-7 from the 3-point line in the first 20 minutes to shooting 4-of-7 in the second half. The Tigers also stepped up their defensive effort, holding Northwestern to just 36.4 percent shooting in the second half, compared with the Wildcats' 50 percent shooting from the field in the first half.

Also scoring in double figures for Missouri was Brown with 15 and Johnathan Williams and Ryan Rosburg, who each had 14.

Tre Demps and Nathan Taphorn each scored 11 for Northwestern (4-3).

There were six ties and six lead changes in the first half, and the Wildcats connected on 6 of 13 jumpers from 3-point range. After falling behind 19-13 midway through the first half, Northwestern went on a 26-15 run to take a 39-34 halftime lead.

The Tigers, who are now 13-4 on a neutral court under coach Frank Haith, face Nevada on Friday, while Northwestern (4-3) will play No. 19 UCLA.