MU wins matchup of interim coaches with Kansas State

Monday, February 13, 2006

Missouri ended its six-game losing streak with a 74-71 victory.

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri players were thinking about Quin Snyder in their first game without their former coach.

Marshall Brown led a balanced attack with 18 points Sunday as Missouri beat Kansas State 74-71 to end a six-game losing streak two days after Snyder resigned. Jimmy McKinney added 16 points and Kevin Young 14 for the Tigers (11-11, 4-7).

"I was just playing for Coach Q," McKinney said. "I had him in my head every play."

So did guard Thomas Gardner.

"It was tough to celebrate and smile after the win even though it's been a couple of weeks," he said. "It's not the same without coach here celebrating with us."

All of Missouri's losses during its streak were by double digits, and the slump began with a 15-point defeat at Kansas State on Jan. 21.

Brown and McKinney both made a pair of critical free throws in the final minute. McKinney hit two with 7.7 seconds to go for the final margin, and Kansas State's Cartier Martin missed an open 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer.

Both teams were led by interim coaches. Melvin Watkins will finish the season for Missouri, while Jimmy Elgas filled in for ailing Kansas State coach Jim Wooldridge for the second straight game.

Snyder did not attend the game but was scheduled to meet with the media later Sunday.

"They've got a lot of distractions going, they really do," Elgas said. "And we do, too. There's distractions on both ends."

Players said it was no big deal.

"No strange feelings really," Kansas State's Lance Harris said. "Just two teams going at it."

Watkins said he can't change much this late in the season. But he did prod Brown into a better effort.

"I've gone back and looked at Marshall's lines and they're just not good, and Marshall understands that," Watkins said. "He said 'Coach, maybe you're right, maybe I can do more.'

"We had guys making plays."

David Hoskins had 20 points, Cartier Martin 19 and Harris had 18 for Kansas State (13-8, 4-6), which has lost four of five. The Wildcats won their first game without Wooldridge, who is recuperating from neck surgery, over Iowa State at home on Wednesday.

Kansas State's next game is Wednesday at Texas Tech. Elgas said it's likely a day-to-day proposition.

"We're just going to have to wait and see," Elgas said. "I'm as anxious as you guys to get him back."

Ball security helped Missouri end the losing despite an off-game from leading scorer Thomas Gardner. The Tigers committed 11 turnovers after totaling 41 the previous two games in blowout losses to Baylor and Texas Tech.

Gardner, who leads the Big 12 with a 20-point average, was 4-for-12 from the field and had 11 points along with six turnovers.

Missouri gave a crowd of 10,682 other things to cheer about as members of the school's all-century team were introduced at halftime. The biggest cheer was reserved for Norm Stewart, whom Snyder replaced in 1999.

"There were so many former players that brought an energy to the place," Watkins said. "The kids worked and I give credit to them for being able to play and get something done."

The school's football team received its Independence Bowl trophy during a break in the second half, with several members filing onto the floor for a brief ceremony.

McKinney's 3-pointer with 24 seconds left in the half gave Missouri a 31-29 lead. Kansas State had an 11-point lead at halftime in the first meeting.

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