No matter the records or rankings, the Braggin’ Rights game in St. Louis is a closely contested match. The 2012 edition was no different in front 22,139 at Scottrade Center. Laurence Bowers scored 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 12 Missouri over No. 10 Illinois 82-73.
Alex Oriakhi added 13 points and 14 rebounds as Missouri (10-1) won its fourth straight in this series. Jabari Brown, who got the start in just his second game at Mizzou, had 18 points and Phil Pressey handed out 11 assists, but struggled from the field, shooting 3 of 19, including missing his first 15 shot.
Missouri used a 9-0 run late in the game to take the lead for good at 70-64. Brown led the spurt with four points.
AUDIO Post game with Jabari Brown, Phil Pressey, Laurence Bowers and Frank Haith
The Tigers used a 12-4 run over the final 4:28 to grab a six point lead at the half. Illinois missed six shots in that span, including three, three-point attempts. Brandon Paul made two of his nine first half free throws during that stretch, and after a late turnover by Phil Pressey, Paul scored on a layup as time expired to cut the Mizzou lead to five.
Illinois came into the game ranked 3rd in the NCAA for three pointers made per game, but were just 4 of 17 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes and finished the game 8 for 32. The Tigers, who rely on strong rebounding started taking over late in the first half on the boards against a smaller Illini team that looked to tire in the closing minutes and finished with a 58-35 advantage for the game.
Brandon Paul led Illinois (12-1) with 23 points. Tyler Griffey, the native of Kirkwood, MO. scored 14, Joseph Bertrand had 13 and Nnanna Egwu 12 for the Illini.