Feb. 01, 2014
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou men dropped a hard-fought contest, 84-79, to No. 11 Kentucky on Saturday at Mizzou Arena. Junior guard Jabari Brown poured in a game- and career-high 33 points to register his sixth straight game scoring 20 or more. He and fellow guard Jordan Clarkson (28) combined for 61 points. Brown scored 22 of his 33 in the second half, but the Wildcats had four players in double figures to help hold off a furious Missouri comeback.
Kentucky (16-5, 6-2 SEC) jumped out to a quick 16-9 lead six minutes in to the game, but Brown scored five unanswered points, including a deep three-pointer in transition that clipped the deficit to two at the 13:34 mark. After Earnest Ross and Jonathan Williams were forced to head to the bench with two fouls apiece, the Wildcats managed to maintain the lead behind a 57.1-percent shooting effort from the field in the first half.
Freshman point guard Wes Clark scored five points and two rebounds in a crucial stretch in opening frame. He finished with seven points, four rebounds and three assists off the bench. Clark's jumper with 5:11 remaining pulled Mizzou (16-5, 4-4) within 28-26, but Kentucky closed the half on a 14-4 run. Wildcat guard Andrew Harrison scored 12 of his team-high 21 points in the first half.
Harrison's second trey of the afternoon gave Kentucky a 59-43 lead with 14:32 remaining, its largest advantage of the game. Missouri began to chip away behind an incredible effort from Brown. His contested jumper with just over 10 minutes left sliced the deficit to 61-52.
Less than two minutes later, Brown drove to the basket, absorbed a foul and got a layup to drop for an old-fashioned three-point play. Two possessions later, the standout junior threw down an emphatic slam to pull the Tigers within three. Kentucky continued to cling to the lead on the shoulders of freshman Julius Randle, who posted 18 points and nine rebounds.
In the final minute, Brown knocked down a deep three-pointer despite being fouled. After a made free throw, the Wildcats' lead was cut to 78-75. That was the closest Missouri would get though, as Randle and Harrison converted tough layups on back-to-back possessions to seal the deal.
Mizzou will now head to Gainesville, Fla., where the Tigers will face off with the No. 3 Florida Gators. The game tips off at 8 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPN.
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