Four of Kansas State’s starting five weren’t even alive the last time the Wildcats won in Columbia.
And the last time they swept the season series against Missouri the other starter, Cartier Martin, was 1.
Both droughts ended Saturday as Kansas State capitalized on the Tigers’ poor shooting night and pulled out a 64-53 win in front of 12,350 fans at Mizzou Arena.
Two weeks ago the Tigers suffered a 20-point loss in Manhattan, Kan. The Wildcats’ last win in Columbia came March 2, 1985 and they hadn’t swept the season series since the 1983-1984 season.
“It’s a big win, big win,” Martin said. “What is that about 20 years? That’s a long time. We’re going to have a nice bus ride back home.”
The Tigers (10-10, 2-5) are off to their worst start in the Big 12 Conference since the 1996-1997 season. Missouri started that season 2-5 and finished the year 16-17 and 5-11 in conference play.
Aside from the beginning of the first and second halves, it was bad old days all over again for Missouri.
As has been the case throughout the season, the Tigers fell victim to their Achilles heel: poor perimeter shooting.
The Tigers made four field goals in the final 16 minutes after leading by 12 four minutes into the second half.
“When they went into the zone we didn’t have an answer,” Missouri’s Jason Conley said.
Forcing Missouri to fire long-range shots with a zone defense was the trap Kansas State (13-4, 3-3) planned to set from the outset.
The plan worked.
Missouri shot 17 percent (5-for-29) from the 3-point range.
“We forced them to shoot the 3,” Martin said. “The game is won in the paint and if you can’t score in the paint you’re going to have a hard time trying to win a game.
“They hit a couple but the game’s not won from the 3-point line. That’s a small part of the game.”
Missouri opened its 12-point second-half lead by going on a 19-0 run that spanned two halves. After closing the first half on a 5-0 run, the Tigers opened the second half with a 14-0 run.
But as in the first half, Missouri couldn’t stand prosperity and allowed Kansas State to respond with a 12-0 run to tie the game at 43.
Missouri tried to hold on and succeeded for the next four minutes, but Kansas State’s Jeremiah Massey and Fred Peete were too much.
Massey, who had two points in the first half, finished with 17 points, including a break-away dunk with under a minute left to give the Wildcats a 61-53 lead.
Peete added 16.
“We’re having a hard time attacking the zone,” Missouri coach Quin Snyder said. “There were five guys in the paint and we could not make a jump shot.”
The outcome was anything but expected after Missouri got off to its fastest start of the season, scoring on its first six possessions to open a 14-2 lead five minutes into the game. Jimmy McKinney, starting his 76th-straight game, scored the Tigers’ first nine points.
But as Snyder said after the Nebraska game, the Tigers don’t play well with a lead.
Settling for 3-pointers instead of attacking the basket as it didearlier, Missouri watched as its lead turned into a 28-21 deficit with four minutes to go. The Tigers were 0-for-6 from behind the arc during this 11-minute stretch.
As Missouri struggled, Kansas State’s Lance Harris heated up, connecting on three 3-pointers in less than four minutes. Harris, who tied a career-high with 14 points, had 11 in the first half.
McKinney finished with 14, his highest total since he had 16 the second game of the season. Immediately after the game he went to get x-rays on his left wrist, which he injured in the first half.