ST. LOUIS Phil Pressey stood near mid-court waving toward the Missouri crowd nearby, a cage-match survivor, the junior guard a reason why the Tigers earned their signature victory to date. This Braggin' Rights game was a pre-Christmas gift wrapped in gauze, one that may springboard the Tigers to a promising future.
No. 12 Mizzou crawled from this hardwood ring at Scottrade Center bruised, bloodied and with both eyes blackened. An 82-73 victory over No. 10 Illinois on Saturday was an unholy wrestling match, and Pressey and others met to exhale. Arms were raised. Gold jerseys were popped. Tigers players raced toward a tunnel and slapped hands that dangled over a rail all while forgetting about a trophy presentation that was supposed to take place about 20 feet behind them.
Having fun? Buckle in. Stay awhile. For Mizzou, this may only be the start.
"In order to win games like this toughness is such a key word," said Missouri coach Frank Haith, whose team earned a fourth consecut...