Kansas roars past Mizzou 102-65 in Border War’s return
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Ochai Agbaji scored 21 points, Christian Braun and Dajuan Harris had 13 apiece, and No. 8 Kansas roared to a 102-65 victory over Missouri on Saturday in the first meeting of the longtime Big 12 rivals as nonconference foes.
David McCormack added 11 points and Remy Martin 10 for the Jayhawks (8-1), who have won eight of the past nine games in a series that began in 1907 but hadn’t been played since the Tigers departed the Big 12 after the 2012 season.
Javon Pickett led sloppy, poor-shooting Missouri (5-5) with 19 points. DaJuan Gordon had 11 and leading scorer Kobe Brown, hounded all afternoon by the Jayhawks’ man-to-man defense, finished with five points and six rebounds.
Hundreds of students representing groups of up to 20 each began camping out nearly a week in advance of the game, all angling for the best seat for the renewal of a rivalry that traces its bitter start to the pre-Civil War days.
But while the era of pro-slavery Missouri raiders quarreling with anti-slavery “Jayhawkers” from Kansas is relegated to the history books, the animosity harbored by fans of the Tigers and Jayhawks is still very real - even though the two programs had not played in nearly a decade, when Missouri decided to chase football riches to the Southeastern Conference.
The move left the Big 12 on such unsteady footing that Kansas coach Bill Self refused to schedule the Tigers anymore.
His stance softened over time, though, and the schools played a 2017 exhibition to raise money for hurricane relief. They later agreed to a six-game series that was delayed a year by the pandemic. But it wasn’t until Saturday, with the winter sun shining through the clerestory windows of Allen Fieldhouse, that they finally took to the floor together.
As usual, their 270th meeting had a bit of everything. There were vulgar chants from Kansas students and silencing buckets from Pickett and the Tigers’ Trevon Brazile. There were alley-oop dunks by McCormack, fast-break slams by Braun, and the first-half run by Kansas that included a technical foul on Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin, whose first taste of the Border War was a bitter one.
The Tigers had been waiting 3,577 days to avenge their last heartbreaking loss to Kansas. They sure didn’t put up the same kind of fight Saturday.
The Jayhawks opened with an 11-3 run, pushed their advantage to double digits after about seven minutes, then closed the first half on a 13-2 run, storming up the tunnel and into their locker room with a 49-27 advantage. They had no intention of going easy on Missouri in the second half, either.
Agbaji followed his first half-ending 3-pointer with one to start the second, and Harris - a native of Columbia, Missouri - and Remy Martin added two more in quick succession, tipping the lead over 30 after just a few minutes.
Kansas eventually scored on its first nine possessions of the second half before coasting to the finish.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.