KANSAS CITY, Mo–You can call it a tune-up, a preseason game, or even an exhibition, but this game mattered.
“It’s a huge rivalry and we knew that coming into the game. We knew it meant a lot to a lot of people,” said Michael Porter Jr.
it was clear the second Mizzou and Kansas took the floor together. After all, it was the first time in five years.
“It was crazy, it seemed like a potential NCAA tournament game. It was amazing to hear the energized fans. It just made it that much more fun to play in,” said Jordan Barnett.
Kansas comes in ranked third in the preseason coaches poll, led by Devonte Graham, who had a sweet alley-oop pass to Udoka Azubuike. Graham finished with 17 first half points.
“He made shots, I thought we did a poor job defending him in the first half, he just had too many open looks,” said Cuonzo Martin.
The Mizzou faithful erupted in the second half as Michael Porter Jr. hit a 3 pointer to give the Tigers a 33-31 lead. Mizzou led 44-40 at the break.
Then in the second half, freshman Jeremiah Tilmon had this monster tip dunk to cut it to a one-point game.
But it was the Jayhawks who would pull away with a 93-87 victory.
“There were a lot of things that I didn’t think that we did great, but I did think we competed in the second half which was probably the most positive thing,” said Bill Self.
But at the end of the day, the atmosphere and the experience was undeniable and these coaches are going to have to consider scheduling a meeting during the regular season.
“Both sides have to agree on something like that. You saw the energy behind it. We’ll see. I think we did enough for fans on both sides. Both sides said it could possibly happen, I think it was great across the board,” said Martin.
“We are going to do what is best for us. We are not going to do what is best for Missouri or Missouri fans, but if it is best for us to play than we will,” said Self.