For the first time in three seasons the Missouri Tigers walked into Allen Fieldhouse and put up a fight. After two consecutive trips resulting in early blowouts, the Tigers found the hot hand early and led the Jayhawks for a time in Monday night's matchup. For Missouri it was a much needed confidence boost after four consecutive road losses since the start of league play. Unfortunately, a start was all it was and the Tigers just didn't have an answer for the Kansas offense. The Jayhawks stayed the course, weathered the Missouri storm and slowly pulled away.
The exciting thing for Kansas is the balance of the contributions throughout the night. Perhaps the story of the game early on was senior Mario Little who stepped up off the bench and provided 17 points including a perfect 3 for 3 shooting night from beyond the arc. Little knocked down some of his biggest shots when Kansas was trailing early and then again as the Jayhawks extended their lead in the middle of the second half.
Brady Morningstar continued his recent run of solid performances and the senior guard is coming on strong at exactly the right time for Bill Self and the Jayhawks. A Kansas native, in his final border war game in Allen Fieldhouse scored 8 points while adding an impressive 7 assists.
Travis Releford, another area player that is more than familiar with the Kansas v Missouri rivalry, played more minutes on Monday than he has in any game since sustaining an injury earlier in the season and responded well. Releford continued his solid play on the defensive end and provided another surprising lift to the Kansas offense with 10 points off the bench.
Last but certainly not least for Kansas is a usual suspect; the Morris twins. The Jayhawks held a decisive advantage on the interior heading into this one and while the start was slow, the second have gave way to what is becoming just another day at the office for the Kansas duo. Final stat line for the Morrii; 38 points, 15 rebounds.
Certainly the Jayhawks had areas they could button up. The defensive play left a little to be desired at times but much of the credit there has to go to the Tiger guards who are incredibly quick and a mismatch in terms of athleticism for a lot of teams. In general though, this was a Kansas win much like recent wins. It's not necessarily explosive from the start, but before you know it the game is out of hand and Kansas cruises.
Sometimes it becomes a little too easy to take things for granted with the Jayhawks, but over the last five games this is a team that is starting to play more consistently and a team that plays good basketball more often than bad. That's a good trend to see with March Madness just a month away. Final score; Kansas goes over the century mark 103-86.