Kansas Jayhawks destroy Missouri Tigers 102-65 in the return of the Border War

The Kansas Jayhawks had no trouble dispatching the Missouri Tigers in the return of the storied Border War, dominating for 40 minutes en route to a 102-65 victory. That makes it two wins in a row for the Jayhawks over the Tigers.

Granted, nine years separated the two victories.

The landscape of college basketball has changed a great deal since these two teams last played a game that counted, not including 2017’s Showdown for Relief, and the rivalry is a nearly foreign concept to most of the two rosters. KU’s oldest player, senior transfer guard Jalen Coleman-Lands, was just 15 years old the last time the schools played, while senior guard Ochai Agbaji, who grew up more local to the Border War in Kansas City, Missouri, was just 11.

Junior guard Christian Braun is no stranger to the historic feud, though, and his passionate play set the ton for the Jayhawks early on Saturday afternoon.

Braun, a Burlington native and lifelong Kansas fan born to KU and Missouri-fan parents, erupted for eight points in less than 3.5 minutes to open the game, also tacking on a block and a highlight-reel and-one play to rile up the already rowdy Jayhawks faithful.

“That was the most fun I’ve had in my life,” Braun said about playing Missouri.

Braun finished with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, his eighth-consecutive game in double figures, along with three blocks, his second game of the year with three or more.

“He was terrific,” Kansas coach Bill Self said about Braun. “This meant a little bit more to him, and you could probably tell by his energy and how vocal he was.”

While Braun’s energy sparked the Jayhawks early, it was once again Agbaji who led the way in scoring, pouring in 21 points and hitting 5-of-7 from three-point range. That’s already seven games with 20 or more points this year for Agbaji, who had six such games in his career entering this season.

Five Jayhawks scored in double figures in the blowout win, with senior forward David McCormack, senior guard Remy Martin and sophomore guard Dajuan Harris all contributing 10 or more points. Harris’s 13 were a new career high for the Columbia, Missouri native, who played against his hometown team for the first time.

“All in all, I thought we were pretty efficient,” Self said. “Played well, and certainly I think the crowd had a lot to do without energy and our focus.”

That crowd inside Allen Fieldhouse was loud throughout the game, from constant cheering during Braun’s hot start to maybe the loudest outburst of all, right after a three pointer by senior walk-on guard Chris Teahan pushed the Jayhawks over 100 points for the game.

The electricity inside the building wasn’t lost on the visitors.

“It was extremely loud at points, the crowd was getting into it,” Missouri guard Javon Pickett said. “It was tough.”

Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin tried downplaying the environment after the game, saying that he’s coached in loud environments before and had no issue communicating with his team on Saturday.

Martin didn’t give too much credence to the historical impact of the game when asked about the status of the rivalry.

“I guess, if you’re keeping score, it’s 1-0,” Martin said.

It was undeniably and obviously an important game and day for Jayhawks fans, and a fun one given the final score, but Self also reiterated a long-held belief that this version of the Border War didn’t carry the same weight as meetings in the past.

“To me, when you play Missouri, it’s such a big game for both teams but it’s magnified because it’s for a bigger picture,” Self said. “Today wasn’t for a bigger picture, today was just a nonconference game and at the end of the season it won’t mean anything other than just us playing each other, where in the past our games have impacted whether we won the league or not.”

This as the first matchup of a six-game series between Kansas and Missouri, the next of which will happen in Columbia next season.

As for this year, the win moves KU to 8-1 on the season with just three games left before Big 12 competition begins on Jan. 1. The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks are next on the list for the Jayhawks, who will come to Lawrence next Saturday.

Click below to hear from Bill Self and the Jayhawks following KU’s 102-65 victory over Missouri.

Bill Self

Christian Braun, Ochai Agbaji and Dajuan Harris