COLUMBIA — Ask Laurence Bowers about it and his eyes get wide like a child describing a Christmas present.
"It was no look," Bowers blurts out before the question is finished.
He wasn’t interrupting, just happy to talk about his alley-oop dunk that put the Missouri men’s basketball team firmly in control in a 75-59 win Monday against Kansas State at Mizzou Arena.
"It was a big momentum changer, momentum shifter,” Bowers said.
With six minutes left in the game, Kansas State coach Frank Martin's body language had turned from frantic to reserved. His arms were no longer flailing, the wild gestures replaced by a series of short claps. Kansas State had cut Missouri’s 15-point halftime lead to a manageable deficit. The Wildcats were now in the game, and momentum was on their side.
The shift occurred with 5:43 left to play in the second half. Three times Kansas State had pulled within three points, and three times Missouri worked to add some padding to its lead. But, Missouri didn't slam the door on the Wildcats until Bowers slammed the softly-arched teardrop pass from Pressey.
Trailing 55-63, Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen brought the ball up the court. Pressey lunged forward to knock it loose. Bowers predicted what would happen next.
“I knew Phil was going to get the ball, so I just took out and ran as fast as I could," Bowers said. "Coach (Mike Anderson) always wants us to run as fast as we can, but when you get an opportunity like that, that adrenaline makes you go faster than you can even imagine. I was like ‘Uh oh, here we go.’"
Bowers was joined by teammate Kim English in the dash to the basket. English was slightly ahead, and even lifted a hand to call for the ball, but Pressey’s pass was destined for Bowers.
“Kimmie was running too. He wanted it, but I threw it to L-Bo (Bowers),” Pressey said in the postgame press conference, grinning as English sat to his right.
Bowers never thought the pass was going to anyone else. In the air, one leg bent as the other straightened. He rode an invisible escalator to the rim, grabbed the ball from the air with his right hand and forced it into the net with a quick jolt of his arm.
Mizzou Arena’s gold and black seats snapped into their empty position as fans hit their feet to celebrate. Missouri had its momentum back. Kansas State never got back within 10 points.
Monday was Bowers' third game coming off the bench. The move allows Bowers to bring his experience to a group of new players. It also means Bowers and Pressey spend more time on the court together.
“That’s the good thing about playing with Phil. He has a knack for seeing stuff like that. He could drive and get himself into trouble, but he always knows where the open man is," Bowers said.
After the game, Bowers said he never doubted how the play would end.
“When he threw that no-look pass, I just knew that I had to go up there and get it. That was a great play,” Bowers said.
The 15,061 fans in attendance agreed.