COLUMBIA — All season, Missouri coach Mike Anderson has lauded his Tigers' unselfish play, calling the group the "ultimate team."
Eleven players appear in Missouri's regular rotation. All 11 of those players have scored in double figures at least once this season, a school record.
The Tigers showed that team balance with five players in double figures in their 94-74 win over Kansas State on Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena.
"I thought the biggest difference in the game tonight was our depth. I thought our bench play versus their bench play was outstanding," Anderson said. "Any guy we put out on the floor I thought they brought super energy."
In a physical game that included 49 fouls, Missouri's deep bench helped it deal with early foul trouble. At the half, Missouri's bench had 29 points. The entire Kansas State team had 32 points, and the Tigers led by 23.
"That first half was probably the best first half we've had since I've been here," Anderson said.
Laurence Bowers came off the bench to help spark a 14-2 run late in the first half. The 6-foot-8 freshman from Memphis used his wiry frame to block shots and finish an array of dunks and tip-ins.
Bowers scored 10 points in just seven minutes in the first half, including a tip-in at the first-half buzzer. He finished with 16 points, tying his season high.
"His productivity, it's unbelievable," Anderson said. "He just has a great feel for the game. Instinct stuff you can't teach."
On Jan. 28, the Tigers (24-4) lost a road game to the Wildcats 88-72. After the game, Anderson attributed the loss to sloppy guard play in the hostile environment. Missouri turned the ball over 17 times.
On Wednesday, none of Missouri's six guards that appeared in the first half turned the ball over.
"I thought (the guards) got outplayed at their place, but I thought our guys stood up and played really, really well (Wednesday)," Anderson said.
Playing with a big lead, Missouri relaxed, allowing the Wildcats (19-9) to make a couple of runs. Missouri had more turnovers (seven) than assists (five) in the second half.
"We came out a little sluggish," said senior forward DeMarre Carroll, who led the Tigers with 21 points.
The win was Missouri's seventh straight. Its next two games, against Kansas and Oklahoma, will likely determine the conference title. Missouri and Oklahoma are each 11-2. Kansas is 12-1.