Harrison twins lead No. 1 Kentucky to 69-53 win over Mizzou
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) Andrew Harrison scored 15 points to lead a balanced Kentucky attack, and the No. 1 Wildcats pulled away in the second half for a 69-53 victory over Missouri on Thursday night.
The Wildcats improved to 20-0 for the third time in school history, and closed within five wins of matching the record start achieved by Adolph Rupp's team in 1953-54.
As usual, Kentucky (7-0 SEC) won with its defense. Missouri turned the ball over 15 times and shot just 38 percent from the field in the second half, when the game was largely decided.
Wes Clark scored 19 points for the Tigers (7-13, 1-6), who have lost six straight for the first time since 2006. Johnathan Williams III added 10 points and five rebounds.
Five players fouled out in the mucky game, resulting in a combined 57 free throws.
The tarnished silver lining for the Tigers was that they fared a whole lot better than in their trip to Rupp Arena two weeks ago. Kentucky looked every bit the nation's top team in an 86-37 victory that night, the most lopsided loss for Missouri in nearly two decades.
The Tigers looked game for most of the first half Thursday night.
Milking the clock with crisp ball movement, Missouri was able to crack Kentucky's long and lean front line for easy baskets. Keanau Post started it with a rim-rattling dunk a few minutes in, and a pair of dunks by Ryan Rosburg had the fans in Mizzou Arena on their feet. Another drunk by Jakeenan Gant late in the half allowed the Tigers to close within 32-25.
But Karl-Anthony Towns scored on a nifty spin move at the buzzer, and the Wildcats so good in the second half all season took all the momentum into the locker room.
At least for a while, they seemed to have left it there.
The Wildcats threw up a series of ugly jumpers, missed a couple shots at the rim and coughed the ball up twice in the first few minutes of the second half. Missouri struggled to capitalize, but did manage to close within 38-32 on Clark's basket with 14:25 to go.
Foul trouble began to set in, though, with Namon Wright and Montaque Gill-Caesar each picking up their fourth with more than 15 minutes left in the game. The Wildcats, with more quality depth, were able to capitalize on their absences and put together a 10-2 run to gain control.
The Harrison twins led the way. Aaron knocked down a jumper, and after Andrew did the same, he proceeded to the foul line on the next four trips down the floor.
Wright fouled out with 8:52 to go. Gill-Caesar joined him less than a minute later. And by the time the Wildcats had hit those free throws, their lead had swelled to 56-36.
The Wildcats cruised from there, running their all-time record against Missouri to 8-0.
Kentucky: Devin Booker had nine points against his father Melvin's alma mater. ... Towns and Marcus Lee fouled out for the Wildcats.
Missouri: Post also fouled out. ... The Tigers fell to 4-18 against No. 1-ranked teams. Their last victory came against Kansas in 1997.
Kentucky: returns to Rupp Arena to face Alabama on Saturday.
Missouri: wraps a three-game homestand against Ole Miss on Saturday.