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Johnson's 17 rebounds keep Tigers perfect at home

2/15/2003

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- This time, Arthur Johnson made his presence
felt under the basket.

Johnson followed one of his worst rebounding games with one of
his best, grabbing 17 boards and scoring 14 points as No. 21
Missouri beat Kansas State 71-63 Saturday.

He's averaging 10 rebounds a game and had been embarrassed by a
four-rebound showing in a two-point loss at Texas A&M on Wednesday.

"A.J. was terrific,'' Missouri coach Quin Snyder said. "For us
to be able to play through him like that, and for him to be as
unselfish as he was, it makes us hard to guard at times.''

Rickey Paulding added 19 points and six rebounds and Travon
Bryant had a career-best 15 points and four blocked shots for
Missouri.

The Tigers (15-6, 6-4 Big 12) are 12-0 at home, including five
conference victories. They held Kansas State without a basket for
more than 8½ minutes down the stretch.

Bryant didn't start after several lapses, especially on defense,
at Texas A&M. He responded with what Snyder called his best game of
the season.

"It was a game we had no business losing,'' Bryant said of the
Texas A&M game. "If you don't bring it every night, that's what
happens. We learned from that.''

Frank Richards equaled his career best with 20 points for Kansas
State (12-11, 3-7), which has lost five of its last six -- four to
Top 25 opponents.The Wildcats have dropped 13 straight Big 12 games
on the road, a slump dating to last season, and 23 in a row on the
road to ranked teams.

"We don't think we've played our best basketball all season,''
coach Jim Wooldridge said. "If that's true, hopefully we can find
it soon and start winning some games.''

Johnson, who has 14 double-doubles, added five assists and two
blocked shots. He missed his career best for rebounds by two,
accomplished at Colorado on Jan. 10, 2001.

"I just was being more assertive with my passes and making the
right reads,'' Johnson said. "I wasn't rushing anything.''

Jarrett Hart hit from the key with 12:57 to go to cut the gap to
50-47, the last basket for the Wildcats until Tim Ellis connected
with 4:20 left. Kansas State had six free throws during the drought
and Missouri scored nine straight points in one stretch.

"It seems like we do that all the time on the road, we catch up
and then let them get their big lead back,'' forward Matt Siebrandt
said. "If you want to win on the road, you can't let that
happen.''

Kansas State was 3-for-17 from 3-point range, and missed several
long-range attempts during the drought.

"I thought they were good shots,'' Wooldridge said. "I thought
all of them were good looks at the basket with the right guys
taking them. But we just didn't cash in on those opportunities.''

Kansas State narrowed the deficit to 67-63 on a hook shot by
Siebrandt with 1:24 left before Missouri finished off the Wildcats
with four free throws. Siebrandt added 14 points.

An early 13-0 run, featuring two 3-pointers by Paulding and five
straight points at the end from Bryant, put Missouri in control at
21-10 with 10:41 left in the first half. Kansas State kept it close
by scoring the last six points of the half, cutting the margin to
37-33.