Chalmers Leads Jayhawks To 76-70 Road Win At Missouri

Jan. 19, 2008

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<?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mario Chalmers led Kansas with 18 points and made two key defensive plays in the final minutes to lift the third-ranked Jayhawks to a 76-70 win at Missouri in Big 12 basketball action here Saturday night.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

With the win Kansas improved to 18-0 overall and 3-0 in Big 12 play, while Missouri fell to 11-7 in all games and 1-2 in the conference.

The victory was the 26th straight regular season win for Kansas as well as its ninth straight regular season road victory. KU has now won four straight against Missouri, including two consecutive in Mizzou Arena.

Three other Jayhawks joined Chalmers in double-figure points as Darnell Jackson and Brandon Rush each had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Darrell Arthur added 10 points and nine rebounds. Stephon Hannah led Missouri with 23 points.

Kansas controlled the second half and led by as many as eight points at 64-56 with less than seven minutes remaining. However, Missouri clawed its way back with a four-point run a little later to cut the margin to 66-63 with less than four minutes left.

However, Chalmers made two key defensive plays in the final minutes of the game, drawing a charge and making a steal which helped KU to score five straight points to gain a 71-63 lead. From there the Jayhawks held on for the win.

Kansas, which entered the game as the nation’s leading shooting team, made just 40 percent of its field goal attempts for its second worst percentage of the year behind only a 38 percent night at USC.

The Jayhawks also struggled from the free throw line in the first half, making just seven of 14, but went 21 of 31 in the second half to secure the win.

Kansas scored the first four points of the second half to build up a 42-36 lead, which matched the game’s biggest margin to that point. Rush, who was one of seven shooting in the first half, scored on a dunk and Chalmers added a pair of free throws to open the half.

The teams stayed close throughout the first half as after Missouri jumped out to a 7-1 lead, Kansas came back to tie the game at nine. The Jayhawks gained the lead

16-15 on a Robinson basket before Missouri rattled off six straight points to go ahead 21-16.

The margin never got higher than four points for either team the rest of the half as KU took a 38-36 advantage into the lockerroom.

Jackson, Chalmers and Robinson all had eight points in the first half, while Arthur chipped in six. The Tigers were led by Hannah, who had 10. KU was outshot in the first period 43.3 percent to 42.4 percent.

Kansas will return home to host Iowa State on Wednesday. Tipoff for that game, which will be televised on ESPN is at 6 p.m.