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Mizzou's frustrations continue at Kansas
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Wayne Simien had 18 points, including two free throws with 42 seconds left, and No. 20 Kansas held on for a 65-56 victory Monday night over rival Missouri.
Kansas (15-4, 6-1 Big 12) led by only one point at halftime and was never able to pull away until the final minutes in the spirited 97-year-old rivalry.
Arthur Johnson, who led Missouri with 15 points, hit a hook shot in the lane to make it 61-56 with 2:46 to go as Missouri sought to post back-to-back wins for the first time since the second and third games of the season.
But then Aaron Miles canned two free throws after Travon Bryant missed a 3-pointer for the Tigers, who were just 3-for-18 from beyond the arc.
Miles, who left the game momentarily in the second half with what appeared to be either a leg or ankle injury, had 11 points and eight assists. J.R. Giddens also had 11 for the Jayhawks, who took a half-game lead over No. 11 Texas and No. 13 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 race.
Rickey Paulding had 14 points for Missouri (9-9, 4-4), which has consistently failed to put any kind of streak together after being named the conference favorite by league coaches. Bryant and Jimmy McKinney had 10 apiece.
Keith Langford took a pass from Miles, the Big 12 assists leader, and stuffed it through for a 51-45 lead as the Jayhawks fought to take control. Then Bryant made a 3-pointer and a moment later McKinney's twisting jumper in the lane made it 53-52.
A few minutes later, after a couple of furiously contested rebounds went the Jayhawks' way, Simien put in a short jumper in traffic for a 59-54 lead.
After Kansas' Jeff Graves fouled out and Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one, Langford pulled down the rebound and Miles fed Simien for a thunderous dunk and a 61-54 lead.
In the first half, Giddens hit a long 3-pointer and Langford stuffed home a bucket to key a 10-3 run that put the Jayhawks on top 25-20, their biggest lead of the half. Kansas settled for a 29-27 halftime lead.