Mizzou starts strong against Purdue

COLUMBIA - J.T. Tiller and Stefhon Hannah combined for three acrobatic baskets down the stretch as Missouri took a 44-36 half-time lead over Purdue.

The Tigers - 5-3 and needing this triumph over the Big 10 foe to improve its resume for post-season hopes - led by 11 with seven and a half minutes to play. But the Boilermakers, with freshman guard E’Twaun Moore drilling two deep threes from the right wing.

The second of those cut the MU lead to 33-31.

Tiller hit a driving bucket and then began the hoops gymnastics, rebound Vaidotas Volkus’ air ball and twisting in a follow shot from under the basket.

Hannah picked up a steal on a second straight possession and scooped in an underhanded bank shot left lay up off his own fast break.

Then, with just 1:17 before the half, Hannah drove the left baseline. With a Boilermaker defender blocking his way, Hannah jumped right and, fading away, lofted the ball into the basket. That basket put MU up 41-33 and it was an eight-point spread at the break.