Columbia, MO (Sports Network) - Marcus Denmon and Zaire Taylor each finished with 14 points, as Missouri held on to upset 11th-ranked Kansas State, 74-68, in a Big 12 opener for both teams at Mizzou Arena.
Laurence Bowers chipped in with 13 points and eight rebounds for Missouri (13-3, 1-0 Big 12), which has won eight straight games, including a 74-45 beating of Savannah State on Wednesday. The Tigers have now won 30 consecutive games on their home court.
Jacob Pullen led all scorers with 21 points to go along with three steals and Denis Clemente ended with 16 points for Kansas State (13-2, 0-1), which got nine rebounds and five points from Dominique Sutton. The Wildcats had won 10 straight games coming into the contest.
Missouri held a slim 36-33 lead after the opening half and the second was just as closely contested. With the game tied at 48-all at the middle portion of the stanza, Clemente made a three, followed by a short jumper to put KSU up by five.
The Wildcats held a narrow lead for the next several minutes before Taylor pulled Missouri even, 58-58, with a pair of free throws near the 4 1/2 minute mark.
It remained a back-and-forth battle throughout the remaining time on the clock and with things deadlocked at 66 with a minute left, Taylor hit a huge three- pointer to put the Tigers ahead with a half a minute to go. Sutton made it a one-point game with a layup, but the Tigers hit 3-of-4 foul shots in the finals seconds and held on for the victory.
Things stayed tight in the early going, but Pullen's three-pointer put Kansas State ahead 26-20 with nearly nine minutes left in the opening half. The lead expanded to 10, 31-21, a short time later, but Missouri closed with a 15-2 run to grab a 36-33 advantage at the break.
Missouri improved to 116-114 in the all-time series with Kansas State...The Tigers finished 43.5 percent from the field, compared to 42 percent for the Wildcats.