Columbia, MO (KMOV.com) -- I'm not sure what the correct protocol is after receiving a gift like that. Does the University of Missouri basketball team and its fans send the University of Kansas basketball team a nice fruit basket? Maybe just a hand-written thank-you card will do.
Either way, Kansas basketball players and coach Bill Self deserve a big thank you from Missouri and its fans after giving the Tigers a big 62-60 win Monday night at Mizzou Arena.
In a game Kansas led over 80 percent of the time, with a lead as big as 14 at half time, they collapsed down the stretch and Missouri outscored the Jayhawks by 16 in the second half. It's hard to tell whether both teams deserve credit for a hard-fought Border War game or deserve credit for a very poorly executed game by both teams.
For a team like Kansas who, coming into Monday's game, averaged over 14 turnovers per game, Missouri's tough defense and full-court press forced Kansas into a season-high 27 turnovers. However, Missouri's 13 turnovers weren't much better.
Kansas had plenty of chances to close out the game in the second half but Missouri battled back on three different occasions and after giving those points right back on two of them (Kansas' lead went from 13 to four, back up to 10, down to three and back up to seven, all in a matter of 9 minutes) Missouri finally took advantage of Kansas' mistakes.
What may have been the turning point of the game was when Kansas guard Sherron Collins went to the line to shoot two free throws, with a two-point lead, and 1:48 left on the clock. Collins, who is an 83 percent free throw shooter on the season missed both shots and Missouri was finally able to capitalize. Missouri forward Leo Lyons made two free throws of his own followed by a J.T. Tiller two-point jumper to put Missouri ahead for the first time since very early in the first half, 60-58. Kansas guard Mario Little then drove down the court and tied the game at 60-60.
The Missouri basketball team has disappointed its fans over the past couple of years; therefore many fans weren't ready to jump on its bandwagon until the team could prove it belonged in the upper echelon of the Big XII. And although they just went to Austin and knocked off a ranked Texas team, Missouri fans were still skeptical.
So you can expect and understand why many Missouri fans were feeling rather nervous at this point in time. The team had overcome a 14-point deficit against a top-25 team and rival in Kansas and this was the time where Missouri was expected to fail. They were supposed to get back into the game just enough to bring the crowd back and then find a way to lose yet again.
Instead, Missouri made a statement. Guard, Zaire Taylor nailed a 10-foot jumper with 1.3 seconds left to upend rival Kansas 62-60, a team it had lost five straight games to.
And like the old adage says, no matter how it happens, a win is a win; especially against Kansas. I'm sure coach Mike Anderson and the rest of the Missouri basketball team feels the same way.
Brandon Schatsiek is a Journalism student at the University of Missouri