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Lions embarrass Rams

DETROIT — Grant Wistrom stewed on a chair in front of his locker, with an ice pack on his elbow and a disgusted look on his face.

With the top seed in the NFC to play for, the St. Louis Rams could not beat a team with only pride on the line.

Record day for Chiefs’ Holmes

KANSAS CITY — Priest Holmes moved an NFL record across Missouri.

Holmes helped the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Chicago Bears 31-3 on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. It wasn’t his 50 yards rushing on 20 carries, but his two touchdowns that gave him sole possession of four records.

No offense, no shot

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Different day, same rotten first half and spoiled finish for the No. 11 Missouri basketball team.

Four days after losing to No. 17 Illinois by one, the Tigers fell short against Memphis, losing 61-59 on Saturday at The Pyramid.

For starters, bench failing

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After a 106-98 win against UNC-Greensboro at Hearnes Center on Dec. 21, the Tigers appeared to have so many scorers that the only problem would be getting everyone enough playing time.

The Tigers improved to 4-1 that afternoon, and the team looked to be on the upswing for guards Randy Pulley and Jason Conley combined for 24 points in their Missouri debuts.

Shots won’t drop

MEMPHIS, Tenn. –- Surprisingly, Missouri coach Quin Snyder liked his team’s first-half performance in the loss at Memphis on Saturday.

Snyder would have liked the half even more had his team hit some shots. No. 11 Missouri handled the ball well, defended well and rebounded well but trailed 35-26 at halftime in a 61-59 loss.

Bruins fall in Classic opener

LIBERTY — Rock Bridge got upset by a school one-third its size Saturday night.

The seventh-seeded Maryville Spoofhounds, upset the second-seeded Bruins 47-35 in the first round of the William Jewell Holiday Basketball Classic.

Nikonchuk joins national program

For Missouri’s Elyse Nikonchuk, being a student-athlete also means being a national soccer player.

Nikonchuk, a freshman midfielder for the Tigers from New Lennox, Ill., was selected to the Under-19 U.S. National Team. She left Saturday to train with the team for a week at Home Depot Center, U.S. Soccer’s national training center in Carson, Calif.

Tigers struggling to get quick start

For 20 minutes in Tuesday night’s game against Illinois, the 10th-ranked Missouri basketball team made defensive stops, outrebounded its opponent and handled the ball well.

The Tigers’ play during the other 20 minutes, on the other hand, warranted their second loss. The Illini defeated them 71-70.

Football with a family

College athletes think they know commitment. They’re not entirely wrong.

Three weeks after Missouri plays in the Independence Bowl against Arkansas on Wednesday in Shreveport, La., the Tigers begin working out in preparation for the next season. Over the summer, almost every player stays in Columbia to try to improve. The team’s in-season obligations are so regimented that the schedule makes it nearly impossible for players to participate in anything else.

Cougars reaching top form

At the beginning of the season, Columbia College coach Bob Burchard said he was worried about his men’s basketball team winning one game, much less producing the 13-1 record and No. 15 ranking it has accumulated.

Considering Burchard has one losing record in his previous 15 seasons at Columbia College, that statement was probably hyperbole.

MU-Arkansas could boost economy $20M

SHREVEPORT, La. — Many Arkansas and Missouri fans won’t stay in Shreveport or Bossier City on Dec. 31, the night of the Independence Bowl.

They will be lodged in hotels and motels in other north Louisiana cities and towns, such as Ruston, Natchitoches, Mansfield and Minden.

Illini sink key shots

ST. LOUIS –- The bottom line in Missouri’s loss to Illinois on Tuesday was the free-throw line.

The Illini won bragging rights with a 71-70 win despite hitting only 57.6 percent of their foul shots.

Weak first half dooms Tigers

ST. LOUIS –- Missouri’s play in the second half was good enough to win, but unfortunately for the Tigers, their play in the first left much to be desired.

Furious play in the final 10 minutes from Missouri couldn’t make up for a sluggish first half as Illinois withstood a late rally to win its fourth straight in the Braggin’ Rights series 71-70 on Tuesday.

Cobbs endures for Razorbacks

In the first half of 2000, Cedric Cobbs could have been elected governor of Arkansas.

There were times later, though, when Cobbs hasn’t wanted to go inside a local gas station because of the piercing stares he might receive. The latter might be a more accurate image of his career.

Cardinals get financing for new stadium

ST. LOUIS — Capping a lengthy journey that included a flirtation with Illinois and a failed trip to Jefferson City in search of public financing, the St. Louis Cardinals said Tuesday the club has obtained the private money it needs to build a ballpark downtown.

Busch Stadium, which opened in 1966 and was home to history that included two World Series championships and Mark McGwire’s record setting 70th home run in 1998, will be demolished after the 2005 season. Work on the new stadium began Monday, and the $387.5 million ballpark is scheduled to open in April 2006.

Tigers’ guards struggle

ST. LOUIS — Missouri’s search for a consistent point guard did not end Tuesday night.

The situation might have become murkier than it had been. Illinois’ Dee Brown overshowed the Tigers’ tandem of Jimmy McKinney and Randy Pulley in the first half, but McKinney improved his play in the second.

Illinois high on seniors’ priority list

The senior class of the Missouri men’s basketball team has an impressive 66-36 record in the past three seasons, but against annual nonconference opponent Illinois, the Tigers have lost all three matchups.

The Tigers’ seniors get their final chance a-gainst Illinois at 8 tonight in the Braggin’ Rights game at Savvis Center in St. Louis.

Ricker lines up for fitting finale vs. Razorbacks

It seems A.J. Ricker was destined to play in this year’s Independence Bowl. The only question was which side he would be on. Ricker, a senior center, has started all 46 games of his career at Missouri and is likely to make it 47 against Arkansas in the Independence Bowl at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 in Shreveport, La.

Starting from day one, Ricker has been the lynchpin of Missouri’s offensive line for four years, but he almost ended up a Razorback. Ricker committed to Arkansas in high school but changed his mind later and wound up a Tiger. In the end, Ricker’s desire to play early and often nudged him toward Missouri.

Big men bolster Tigers

The big players came up large for Missouri this time around.

A strong inside game helped No. 10 Missouri beat UNC-Greensboro 106-98 on Sunday at Hearnes Center. Center Arthur Johnson and forwards Travon Bryant and Linas Kleiza combined for 53 points in the victory.

Conley, Pulley don’t disappoint

Jason Conley started his Missouri career in impressive fashion.

With 14:06 left in the first half of Missouri’s 106-98 win against UNC-Greensboro, fans welcomed Conley’s first appearance as a Tiger with a standing ovation. Although he received the warm greeting before he had touched the court, Conley didn’t disappoint the 11,552 in attendance Sunday afternoon at Hearnes Center.

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