St. Louis, MO – Laurence Bowers had 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, and the 12th-ranked Missouri Tigers posted an 82-73 victory over the previously-unbeaten No. 10 Illinois Fighting Illini in the annual Braggin' Rights game.
Jabari Brown added 18 points and Alex Oriakhi scored 13 to go with 14 boards for the Tigers (10-1), who have won four straight in the series.
Phil Pressey ended with 12 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds against the Fighting Illini but converted just 3-of-19 field goals.
Brandon Paul made 11 free throws on his way to 23 points for Illinois (12-1), which got 14 points from Tyler Griffey.
Bowers hit a jumper to put Missouri up 48-39 a little more than three minutes into the second half. Illinois fought back and moved ahead 51-50 on a Tracy Abrams layup with 12:17 left.
Joseph Bertrand made three straight baskets and two free throws to extend Illinois' lead to a game-high five points at 62-57 with 8:05 remaining.
Missouri responded with a 13-2 run and led 70-64 when Pressey got a floater in the lane to drop with 4:11 to play. Pressey had missed his first 15 shots.
Griffey drained a 3-pointer to pull the Fighting Illini within 72-70, but the Tigers scored seven straight points to seal the win.
After Brown made 1-of-2 at the charity stripe, Bertrand missed a game-tying 3- pointer. Pressey then fed Bowers for a dunk with 59 seconds left. On the next Illinois possession, Griffey failed to connect from beyond the arc.
Pressey hit a layup and Brown made two free throws after Paul's 3-point try was off the mark.
The teams went back-and-forth for a large portion of the first half, with Paul sinking a trio of free throws to put Illinois up 31-29 with 4:29 remaining.
But Missouri went on a 12-2 run before the Fighting Illini closed out the frame with a fastbreak bucket, trimming their deficit to 41-35.
The Tigers have won 25 consecutive games in December ... Missouri held a 58-35 rebounding edge ... Illinois was 8-of-32 from 3-point range ... Both schools were ranked for the third straight year ... Nnanna Egwu had 12 points and nine rebounds for Illinois.