MU endures challenge, turns away Kansas St.

Sunday, January 27, 2002

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- After scoring 18 points in the first half, Kareem Rush decided to let his teammates have a chance.

It nearly backfired on No. 18 Missouri, which led by as many as 18 points and then had to hold off a late challenge from Kansas State for an 86-74 victory Saturday.

"I was kind of lackadaisical the second half," said Rush, who finished with 22 points. "I could have come out and scored more points, but I wanted to let the guys who were in foul trouble the first half go out there and have fun. I took a back seat."

Missouri (15-5, 5-2 Big 12) has an 18-game winning streak against Kansas State (7-10, 1-5) in the Hearnes Center, with the last setback coming in 1985. The latest one wasn't easy, even after the Tigers took control with an early 17-2 run.

Tony Atchison's 3-pointer made it 74-67 with 2:50 left before Missouri clinched it at the free throw line.

Najeeb Echols was 3-of-4 from the line and Rush made two free throws to put Missouri up 79-67 with 1:20 to play. Missouri held on despite playing the last 3 1/2 minutes without big men Travon Bryant and Arthur Johnson, who both fouled out.

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