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MU must shake off layoff rust

Missouri’s schedule is about to get a lot busier.

After playing one game in the past 19 days, the Tigers host Iowa at Hearnes Center today in the first of three games in six days.

Bruins’ defense stymies Cougars

LIBERTY — The Rock Bridge offense had a case of the Mondays after its bus left for the campus of William Jewell at 6:30 a.m.

It had enough, though, to defeat the Hickman Mills Cougars 36-27 on Monday morning in the consolation bracket of the Cardinal Division of the Bank Midwest/William Jewell Holiday Classic.

Missouri wrestling team wins Southern Scuffle

The Missouri wrestling team won the Southern Scuffle Monday at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. The Tigers had 185 to better Minnesota’s 169.5. Edinboro was third with 108.5.

Ben Askren was one of four Tigers to win titles. Askren, who had three pins and was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler, beat Edinboro’s Nate Yeter 14-6 in the 174-pound championship match.

Kewpies defeat Lincoln

The Kewpies defeated Lincoln (Ill.) 57-36 in a consolation game at the KTXR Lady Classic tournament at Drury University in Springfield.

Stephanie Burger and Lauren Harris led Hickman (12-1) with 12 points apiece. Amy Bolerjack, who had three 3-pointers, had 11.

Kewpies move to semifinals

Bret Burchard scored 18 points to lead the Kewpies to a 80-50 victory against Cruthersville in a first-round game at the Poplar Bluff tournament. Taylor Trogdon scored 14 and Mikel Fields had 13.

Hickman (4-4) plays Parkview from Little Rock, Ark., in the semifinals at 8:30 p.m. today.

Tigers progressing slowly

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Only minutes after his team’s 61-59 upset win against Missouri on Saturday, Memphis coach John Calipari was in the hallway between locker rooms in The Pyramid, discussing the outcome with reporters. Calipari gushed about his team’s performance, suggesting his team could go far if it “battled” as a group.

He found time to compliment Missouri as well.

Jackson’s comment provokes Arkansas

SHREVEPORT, La. — Missouri freshman Xzavie Jackson has added some fuel to help ignite a Missouri-Arkansas border war.

At a media day in the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s Independence Bowl game between the two teams, Jackson criticized the Razorbacks for a lack of team unity. Two players, including All-American offensive tackle Shawn Andrews, have left the team to prepare for pre-NFL draft workouts. Other players have said they are considering leaving school early to declare for the draft.

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.

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