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Kansas tops Missouri to remain unbeaten

Jan 20, 2008 - 5:49 AM COLUMBIA, Missouri (Ticker) -- Kansas refused to let Missouri spoil its undefeated season in two different sports.

Mario Chalmers scored 18 points and Darrell Arthur had 10 points and 10 rebounds as the third-ranked Jayhawks posted their 19th consecutive victory, a 76-70 triumph over the Tigers on Saturday night in a Big 12 Conference matchup.

Darnell Jackson and Brandon Rush each added 13 points for Kansas (18-0, 3-0 Big 12), which is off to its best start since the 1996-97 club started 22-0. It marks just the fifth time in school history that the Jayhawks have won their first 18 games to begin a season.

"I think Mizzou had us sped up to the point where we didn't execute very well," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "I really think our guards are as good as any guards out there and I think they got sped up and we tried to make some great plays as opposed to letting the ball make the plays for us."

Last November, Missouri's football team ruined Kansas' undefeated season with a 36-28 win in the regular-season finale.

Despite a great effort, the Tigers (11-7, 1-2) were not able to do the same Saturday on the hardwood.

"I thought that our defense got out there and scrapped and clawed and got after the loose balls and really helped us a lot out there tonight," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "I think they really left it on the floor tonight."

Chalmers' reverse layup gave the Jayhawks a 63-56 lead with 7:40 remaining in the contest, but it would be the last field goal they would make for the remainder of the game. A couple critical defensive stops and some clutch free-throw shooting, however, allowed Kansas to hang on for the win.

"That's a little misleading, considering the amount of free throws we attempted," Self said of the team's failure to make a field goal late in the game. "Our goal late, even though we never really executed what we wanted to do, was to use the clock and hopefully create an inside scoring opportunity."

"We drove it pretty good a few times and came away empty, but we didn't take very many shots in the last seven minutes."

After Jason Horton's layup cut Missouri's deficit to 66-63 with 3:50 left, Chalmers committed a foul away from the play to give the Tigers back the ball. Kansas responded with an excellent defensive effort, not allowing Missouri to score for nearly three minutes.

After Chalmers knocked down a pair of free throws to take a 68-63 advantage, Stefhon Hannah missed a 3-point attempt. On the ensuing possessions, the Tigers had a shot-clock violation and Hannah and Keon Lawrence both missed jump shots before Lawrence committed a critical turnover.

Chalmers stole the ball from Lawrence and made an outlet pass to Rush, who was fouled and hit both his free throws to take a 70-63 lead with 64 seconds left.

Hannah led the way for the Tigers, scoring 23 points. Leo Lyons had 10 points before fouled out with just under five minutes to play and Demarre Carroll grabbed nine rebounds.

"I think he's a really good player, and I think we got lucky tonight as he missed some shots he would normally make," Self said of Carroll. "I thought we defended him fine for the most part. I think we got a break because he didn't shoot a real good percentage."

It was the first home loss of the season for Missouri, which had beaten then-No. 12 Texas last Saturday.

"I thought we played with good energy defensively and that's the key," Anderson said. "Whether it be at home or on the road our defense is the key area where we need to be consistent. We control that energy-level and need to come with that every night out in this league."