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Kansas downs arch-rival Mizzou to clinch Big 12 title

Mar 6, 2011 - 1:53 AM Columbia, MO (Sports Network) - Marcus Morris scored 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, as the second-ranked Kansas Jayhawks won the Big 12 Conference regular season title outright with a 70-66 victory over the 22nd-ranked Missouri Tigers.

Thomas Robinson added 15 points and 13 boards for the Jayhawks (29-2, 14-2 Big 12), who clinched at least a share of their seventh straight Big 12 Conference regular season crown with a win over Texas A&M on Wednesday.

Tyrel Reed and Markieff Morris donated 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Kansas, which will be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Big 12 Tournament.

Laurence Bowers finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers (22-9, 8-8), who came into the game with a 17-0 record at home this season. Marcus Denmon tallied 19 points in defeat.

"We can't let it be a carryover," Bowers said. "We played with super energy tonight. We did some good things but we also couldn't make a shot. We didn't capitalize on their turnovers. We have to go into Kansas City with the mind set that this could be our last game (against a Big 12 opponent)."

Bowers made a layup to start the second half, giving the Tigers a 33-32 lead. But Kansas took control with seven straight points to grab a 39-33 edge on Markieff Morris' free throw.

Holding a 41-37 lead moments later, the Jayhawks created some distance with a 9-2 flurry. Robinson tallied five points during the stretch, which Marcus Morris capped with a layup for a 50-39 margin with 8 1/2 minutes to play.

Robinson added a pair of tip-ins with four minutes remaining to give Kansas a 63-48 lead. It seemed all but over until Missouri ripped off 11 straight points to get within four, 63-59, on Denmon's trey with 1:32 left.

Reed made a three of his own at the other end, then went 3-of-4 from the foul line to give the Jayhawks a 69-62 edge. It remained a two-possession game the rest of the way.

"We didn't panic, and guys took care of the ball better and made some free throws, made some shots," Reed said.

The Jayhawks scored the first seven points of the game, but turnovers prevented the visitors from pulling away. Reed's turnover 3 1/2 minutes in proved to be the first of 14 first-half Kansas turnovers.

Missouri used a 10-0 run moments later to grab a 14-11 edge. The Jayhawks, though, responded with a 19-6 surge to take a 30-20 lead on Marcus Morris' three-point play with four minutes remaining.

The back-and-forth battle continued as the Tigers ended the half on an 11-2 burst to cut the gap to 32-31 at the half.

Game Notes

Kansas has won five in a row against Missouri and leads the all-time series by a 171-94 count...The Jayhawks have 29 victories for the fourth time in the last five seasons...The Tigers came into Saturday's game with wins in 52 of their last 54 home games....Kansas turned the ball over 24 times, compared to 12 for Missouri...The Jayhawks shot 43.6 percent from the field, while the Tigers made just 29.3 percent of their shots.