The No. 8 Missouri Tigers took a nice lead into halftime against the No. 24 Illinois Fighting Illini, but needed to withstand an impressive comeback to complete the 78-74 victory. Missouri got out to a 41-30 lead going into halftime and expanded that lead by a few in the second, but trailed going into the game's final two minutes and needed a big run at the end of the game to hold on.
After leading 59-45 with about 12:25 remaining in the game, the Tigers allowed the Fighting Illini to go on a 17-3 run over the next seven minutes that would tie things up at 62. After a couple of minutes, three free throws from D.J. Richardson put Illinois up 70-69 with just two minutes left in the game. Missouri would take things over from there, though, scoring 7 unanswered points on the way to victory.
Phil Pressey led the way for Missouri with 20 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals, and Michael Dixon scored 18 points and made the final free throws that effectively put the game away. Ricardo Ratliff added 14 points and 5 rebounds as the key player down-low.
Illinois got strong performances from guards Brandon Paul and Joseph Bertand, as well as center Meyers Leonard, but didn't have enough in the final couple minutes. Paul and Betrand shouldered the scoring burden with 19 points apiece, with Bertrand going a perfect 9-for-9 shooting from the field. Leonard added 14 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists.
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