Jan 22, 2020 5:28 AM

Missouri's rally comes up short against Texas A&M 66-64

Posted Jan 22, 2020 5:28 AM

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- For a struggling Missouri men's basketball team, even an NCAA record-breaking night wasn't enough for a win.
After sinking 31 straight free throws in its weekend loss to Alabama, the Tigers (9-9, 1-5 Southeastern Conference) continued their streak with 23 foul shots in a row against Texas A&M on Tuesday night. The 54 consecutive free throws broke the NCAA record of 50 set by Wake Forest in 2005.
But it wasn't enough -- Josh Nebo and his 14 points overpowered a sloppy Missouri team to a 66-64 Aggies' win.
The Tigers led 32-27 after a first half filled with sloppy passes and consistent free throws. Texas A&M (9-8, 3-3 SEC) led for much of the second half, but Missouri came within two points of tying it in the last minute of the game.
Nebo's fifth foul sent Missouri's Mitchell Smith to the free throw line, but he missed his second shot, keeping the Aggies ahead by one point. The teams traded trips to the free throw line, then Missouri guard Torrence Watson missed a 3 at the buzzer to cement the Tigers' loss.
Missouri limited Nebo to five points in the first half, but the 6-foot-9-inch center dominated under the basket in the second half. With Missouri center Jeremiah Tilmon out with a foot injury, the Tigers rotated between Mitchell Smith and Reed Nikko.
The Aggies' offense was spread out over Nebo, Savion Flagg and Emanuel Miller. With six 3s made, Texas A&M averaged 35% from beyond the arc, significantly higher than its team percentage of 25%.
Mark Smith led Missouri's offense with 19 points, including 15 from beyond the arc. Dru Smith scored 18 points and Torrence Watson added 11. Watson had averaged 4.8 points per game before Tuesday.
BIG PICTURE
Missouri: Sloppy passes and offensive troubles combined to hand Missouri its third straight loss. The Tigers have been inconsistent at home this season, tacking up an energizing win over Florida but also losses to Charleston Southern and Texas A&M.
Texas A&M: The Aggies capitalized on offensive production from Savion Flagg (14 points), Emanuel Miller (12) and Josh Nebo (14) to break its two-game losing streak. Nebo had averaged 12.5 points before Tuesday night.
UP NEXT
Missouri: The Tigers will head to West Virginia to face the Mountaineers on Saturday.
Texas A&M: The Aggies will face Oklahoma State on Saturday at home in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
--- Associated Press ---

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Jan 22, 2020 5:28 AM
No. 6 KU defeats K-State 81-60 as brawl breaks out at end of game

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Third-ranked Kansas and Kansas State ended their bitter showdown Tuesday night with a wild melee behind the basket that included punches, shoving and at least one player picking up a stool, moments after the Jayhawks tried to dribble out the time on their 81-60 victory.

Silvio De Sousa was stripped by the Wildcats' DaJuan Gordon near midcourt and Gordon tried to go in for a layup. The Jayhawks' big man recovered and blocked his shot, sending Gordon to the floor, then stood over him barking. That triggered benches to empty and punches to be thrown in what amounted to a rugby scrum. At one point, De Souza picked up a stool and held it above his head before assistant coach Jerrance Howard grabbed it from him.

It took both coaching staffs and security to separate the teams. Then, adding to the bizarre finish, both teams were summoned back from the locker rooms by officials and one-tenth of a second was put on the clock. Kansas State shot technical free throws to booing from a few thousand fans left -- necessitating a change to the final score.

"Well, obviously it's an embarrassment," Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. "It's not something to be proud of. What happened showed zero signs of toughness. It's a sign of immaturity and selfishness more so than toughness."

Christian Braun scored a career-high 20 points, Devon Dotson added 18 and Udoka Azubuike finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds for Kansas, which beat the Wildcats for the 14th straight time at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks, who lost to Baylor 10 days ago, also avoided back-to-back home defeats for the first time since 1988-89.

Xavier Sneed had 16 points and David Sloan had 14 for the Wildcats (8-10, 1-5), who continue to struggle on the road. They have lost all three league contests away from Bramlage Coliseum after going 7-2 in those games a year ago, when they tied Texas Tech for the Big 12 title -- ending the Jayhawks' record-setting run of 14 consecutive championships.

The Jayhawks built a comfortable 39-23 lead by the break, and all of it -- and then some -- came during that soul-crushing 19-2 run midway through the first half that torpedoed just about any chance of an upset.

It began when Braun hit the first of what would become three 3-pointers by the freshman during the charge. It continued when the Jayhawks forced the Wildcats into a series of blown layups and easy misses, a pair of missed free throws, a shot clock violation and five turnovers that left coach Bruce Weber stamping his feet in frustration.

The run ended -- fittingly -- with Braun hitting another 3, giving the Jayhawks a 26-9 lead with less than 10 minutes left.

Braun, who played a mere 4 minutes last weekend at Texas, hit another from beyond the arc as the shot clock wound down to star the second half, and Kansas more than doubled up its biggest rival at 47-23 before the Wildcats showed some life.

Sloan started their own run with an easy basket, then he followed one by Sneed with two more. Cartier Diarra answered the fans that'd been heckling him all night from an early air-ball by adding a layup, and Gordon's 3-pointer capped a 13-2 run that got Kansas State withing 49-36 with about 14 minutes left in the game.

Braun answered with another 3 during another big run that allowed the Jayhawks to put the game away.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas State was playing its third consecutive ranked opponent, and should have come in with some momentum after an easy win over then-No. 12 West Virginia. But after hanging with the Jayhawks the first few minutes, sloppy play and their inability to convert layups at the rim allowed Kansas to go on the run that defined the game.

Kansas didn't shoot the ball particularly well, but the Jayhawks dominated the glass, kept turnovers to a minimum and played one of their better defensive games all season.

UP NEXT

Kansas State heads to Alabama on Saturday for the Big 12-SEC Challenge.

Kansas welcomes back ex-Texas coach Rick Barnes with Tennessee on Saturday.

--- Associated Press ---