KANSAS CITY – Shots hung on the rim. They rattled out of the rim. They clanged off the rim. Some even missed the rim.
They did everything but go in.
That’s Missouri’s side of the story.
Creighton, meanwhile, did what the Tigers couldn’t.
The Bluejays, who won the Classic in 2002, used consistent shooting to roll to a 78-54 victory on Tuesday in the semifinals of the Guardians Classic at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.
Creighton will play Ohio State in the championship game at 8 tonight.
Houston will look to avenge its Nov. 16 loss to Missouri at 5:30 p.m. in the consolation championship.
Three of Missouri’s top four leading scorers, not including Linas Kleiza, totaled 10 points as the Tigers shot 32 percent from the field and 21 percent from behind the arc.
Missouri even struggled from the free-throw line, where it shot 62 percent on the game.
About the only thing the Tigers didn’t miss was the one dunk they had.
Jason Conley finished with eight points, Thomas Gardner had two, and Jimmy McKinney didn’t score.
Gardner was 1-for-7 from the field, Conley was 2-for-5 and McKinney attempted three shots. Kleiza led Missouri with 12 points, but he shot 4-for-15 from the floor.
“When shots aren’t going, guys can get discouraged, and one of the main things we talked about is even if we’re not making shots we need to get stops,” Missouri coach Quin Snyder said.
Creighton scored 11 unanswered points in a two-minute span midway through the first half. The Bluejays also ended the half on a 21-6 run.
The Tigers went more than five minutes without scoring a field goal to open the second half.
“You need to be able to grind games out when you’re not making shots and again that involves doing all the little things collectively,” Snyder said. “You don’t give teams easy baskets, open looks. Those are the things we’re struggling with right now.”
When Jason Conley connected on the first of two free throws with 14:43 left in the second half, Missouri fans expressed their disgust through a mock cheer.
Soon that frustration was evident in the number of Missouri fans filtering out of the stadium.
Creighton’s Johnny Mathies and Nate Funk did most of the damage.
Funk had 21 points on 3-for-6 shooting from behind the arc. Mathies added 18.