COLUMBIA | Missouri reserve big man Laurence Bowers scored six points in the final 44 seconds of the first half. Four in the final six seconds.
And that merely earned the big freshman third chair in the nylon string session that was Missouri’s 94-74 victory over Kansas State on Wednesday night.
Missouri guard J.T. Tiller scored six unanswered points in 39 seconds, jumping Missouri from a four-point to a 10-point lead at 30-20.
Early in the second half, MU senior big Leo Lyons scored six points in 33 seconds.
Hello blowout. Goodbye Kansas State, now at 19-9 and 7-6 in the Big 12 in a battle with Texas and Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Nebraska for no better than fourth place and a tenuous claim to inclusion in the NCAA Tournament.
Mizzou moved 24-4 overall, into a tie with Oklahoma for second place in the Big 12 Conference at 11-2. On Sunday in a 1 p.m. game nationally televised by CBS from Kansas, the Tigers will take aim at first place against the 12-1 Jayhawks.
The victory over Kansas State — before a crowd announced as a sellout (15,061) with only 14,825 in attendance — clinched at least a third-place finish and a first-round bye in the Big 12 Tournament for Missouri for the first time since the 1998-99 season under Coach Norm Stewart.
Kansas State beat Missouri 88-72 on Jan. 28 in Manhattan. Key in that game was 12 of 22 KSU shooting from three-point land.
In the first half on Wednesday at Mizzou Arena, the Wildcats hit only two of 10 and finished 9 of 24. Missouri led only 24-20 with 6 minutes, 51 seconds left in the first half. The Tigers outscored K-State 31-12 the rest of the way for a 55-32 bulge at the break.
Tiller led MU in scoring with six of his 10 points coming on free throws, where MU was 17 of 20 in the first 20 minutes.
Bowers topped that, scoring 10 points in seven minutes off the bench.
With 44 seconds before the break, Bowers scored inside off a Tiller assist. With six seconds left, Bowers scored on a tip in.
Then, after a Miguel Paul steal, miss, and a Tiller missed follow, Bowers beat the clock with another tip in.
Missouri advanced to 17-0 at home this season with ridiculous ease.
Missouri scored 42 points in the paint and 27 off 21 KSU turnovers.
Kansas State scored only seven points off 10 Missouri turnovers, none in the first half.
Missouri jetted to a 32-point lead early in the second half. A 13-0 run by Kansas State cut that to 19 points with 12:09 to play.
K-State’s Denis Clemente went off for 33 points, all but 11 after intermission.
But Missouri had five players in double figure scoring. DeMarre Carroll scored 21. Lyons and Bowers added 16 each, Tiller 15 and Matt Lawrence 13.
Carroll proved a demon on the boards with a career-high 14.
Now for Missouri it is on to Kansas. Looking for a share of first place and, by virtue of having already beaten KU 62-60 in Columbia on Feb. 9, the tiebreaker in both the regular season standings and league tournament seeding.