Our breakdown of the Illini's fourth consecutive loss in the Braggin' Rights game:
Missouri 82, Illinois 73
Player of the Game: Missouri’s Phil Pressey
This will be the last time any player earns this honor after going 3 for 19 from the field. Despite his wayward shooting, Pressey won the game for the Tigers, dishing 10 assists, pulling down seven rebounds and making all six of his free throws. Dad has to be proud.
Missouri B, Illinois D
Too many missed shots for the Illini (a combined 10 for 40). Too many missed three-pointers (a combined 3 for 20). Too many forced possessions. Tracy Abrams and D.J. Richardson looked like they were trying too hard.
Missouri A, Illinois B
Laurence Bowers tied for the game-high lead in scoring with 23 points. But he did so much more, adding seven rebounds, four assists and a leg grab of Illini Sam McLaurin (earned a T on that one). Nnanna Egwu and Tyler Griffey were by far the most effective Illini on offense.
Missouri B-, Illinois C
A year after his breakout game against Missouri, Joseph Bertrand helped keep the Illini close. But he was the only one off the bench to score. Earnest Ross got close to a double-double for the Tigers (eight points, seven boards).
Missouri A-, Illinois C
It wasn’t a perfect effort from the Tigers, who had a mostly new cast in St. Louis (nice job Alex Oriakhi with the double-double). But they did enough to win their fourth in a row and keep the Illini seniors from dragging home that big trophy. If you had Illinois at 12-1 before the start of the season, you’re lying. This will not be the start of a downward spiral.