LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Kansas Jayhawks are blue and crimson.
On Monday though, they were feeling orange.
Orange tee shirts lined Allen Fieldhouse, posters about oranges were prevalent, and at halftime the football team came to center court to receive a big, shiny cup filled with oranges.
It was no coincidence. Despite beating Kansas, winning the Big 12 North, and having a higher rank, the Missouri football team lost out to Kansas when the illustrious Orange Bowl decided which team would play in its game.
That wasn’t the only thing that had Missouri feeling blue on Big Monday.
Kansas 90, Missouri 71.
The Tigers came out hard — and with all its healthy players available — but slowly faded away against the No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks. Missouri had played shorthanded in its past two games before coming to Lawrence, Kan.
“We’ve been playing with shorter guys the last two games and a lot of guys have been playing a lot of minutes who aren’t used to that. Usually I don’t be playing a lot of minutes,” said Keon Lawrence, who played a team-high 36 minutes. “I think tonight, for some of us it caught up. The minutes caught up. We just didn’t go after the ball aggressive at all.”
When the Missouri players took the court down 81-56 after a timeout late in the second half, the players looked confused, shaking their heads and talking to themselves. On the ensuing possession, guard Matt Lawrence air-balled a field goal attempt.
“I thought it was a quick turnaround for our basketball team,” Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. “You could see the energy level in all those loose balls, especially in the second half.”
Both teams came out strong. For the first seven minutes, Missouri answered every basket that Kansas made, trailing only 17-18 with 13:32 left in the half. Then Kansas broke away. The Jayhawks went on a 9-2 run and never looked back.
“We had a chance, like, halftime it was like 12, and we was playing bad,” Keon Lawrence said. “When we came out, we chipped away. It was like, we was down eight or nine, but after that, it was like we gave up. We just fell in and gave in to what they wanted to do.”
Keon Lawrence was Missouri’s best player. Barely looking tired at all, Lawrence shot 10-for-13 and scored a career-high 25 points.
“I felt fine,” Lawrence said. “I knew I was going to have to play a lot of minutes. My legs were all right. I felt pretty good.”
J.T. Tiller, who was named co-Big 12 Player of the Week on Monday, scored 13 points in 29 minutes. He had played 35 minutes in each of Missouri’s past two games.
Forwards DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons also had 13 points, though Carroll left the game in the second half with a twisted ankle.
Kansas was lead by a Brandon Rush, who scored 19 points, although five players scored in double digits for the Jayhawks.
Missouri also accomplished a first for an Anderson coached team when it went 0-for-10 from beyond the 3-point arc. Anderson said he couldn’t remember another game in which his team failed to make a 3-pointer.
But overall, it was just a dominant Kansas team that kept Missouri feeling blue.
“They are a good team,” Lawrence said. “You can’t take anything away from them. We played them close at home, but here, they just jumped on us.”