In the 36th Annual Bud Light Braggin’ Rights Game, Mizzou Men’s Basketball (5-6) dropped a tightly contested game to Illinois (10-3), 75-66, at the Scottrade Center on Wednesday night. Mizzou cut the lead to as little as four with 6:34 remaining in the game, but the Tigers could not get the bucket they needed to gain the lead over the final minutes of the game.
Sophomore forward Kevin Puryear (Blue Springs, Mo.) paced the Tigers in scoring for the fourth time this season, putting up 17 points (5-of-10 FG, 0-of-1 3PT, 7-of-9 FT), while snagging nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Jordan Geist (Fort Wayne, Ind.) provided a solid 17 minutes off the bench for the Tigers, scoring a season-high 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field.
In the first half, the Tigers’ defense forced nine Illinois turnovers, but the Fighting Illini shot a blistering 61.7 percent from the field as Mizzou trailed, 39-29, at the break. Sophomore guard Terrence Phillips (Orange County, Calif.) paced the Mizzou offense in the opening half, scoring eight points while connecting on 2-of-2 shot attempts from beyond the arc.
Geist provided a spark for Mizzou in the second half, chipping in eight of his season-high 12 points in the second frame. The Tiger guard scored six straight points as Mizzou cut the Illinois lead to five at 53-48 with 13:26 remaining. Two free throws from freshman forward Reed Nikko (Maple Grove, Minn.) cut the lead to four with 6:34 remaining, but Illinois responded with a 12-7 run to close the game.
Mizzou returns home for its next contest on Thursday, Dec. 29, as the Tigers host Lipscomb inside Mizzou Arena. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on SEC Network +.