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Memorable Braggin' Rights Games

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2004-Braggin Rights-1.jpg2012 Braggin' Rights Game Notes

With the Illini heading to St. Louis this Saturday to face Missouri in the annual Bud Light Braggin' Rights game  (5 pm CT, ESPN2), I thought it would be a good time to look back at some memorable games from the border war. In the 32-year history of the event, the Illini hold a 20-11 series edge against the Tigers, and many of those games have been instant classics. Whether it was a last-second basket or miss, an incredible individual performance or a wire-to-wire blow out, incredible things have happened when Illinois and Mizzou square off in St. Louis.
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Braggin' Rights Breakdown

Series Record: Illinois leads 20-11
Current Streak: Missouri, W-3
Illinois when ranked: 13-5
Missouri when ranked: 5-9
When both teams are ranked: Illinois leads 6-2
At Scottrade Center: Illinois leads 11-7


Here's a look at some memorial Illini wins against Mizzou, plus one very memorable loss:

1988 - #5 Illinois 87, #10 Missouri 84
No. 5 Illinois extended the Braggin' Rights streak to six in a row with a furious come-from-behind win over No. 10 Missouri. The "Flyin' Illini" found themselves down by 18 points late in the first half. They then stormed back, and a 3-pointer by Marcus Liberty gave Illinois its first lead of the game at 54-52 with 11:15 remaining. The Illini took a four-point lead on a 3-point play by Kenny Battle with 2:25 remaining. But Mizzou then took an 84-83 lead on a dunk by Doug Smith with one minute to go. Kenny Battle made two crucial free throws with 26 seconds left to give Illinois an 85-84 lead. Mizzou turned it over on its next possession and Larry Smith's lay-up with four seconds left wrapped up the win. Battle scored 19 of his game-high 28 points in the second half, while Lowell Hamilton added 21 points for the Illini.

1989 - #5 Illinois 101, #4 Missouri 93
The 1989 game featured both teams ranked in the Top-5 nationally, with the fifth-ranked Illini defeating No. 4 Missouri 101-93, marking Illinois' seventh win in a row over the Tigers. The Illini shot 53 percent from the field and had five players net double figures, led by 26 points from Marcus Liberty on 8-of-12 shooting. Kendall Gill scored 25 points and Andy Kaufmann added 16. Guard Stephen Bardo recorded a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. The Illini also got a big lift from center Ervin Small, who came off the bench to score 13 points and record six steals. 

1990 - Illinois 84, Missouri 81
The 1990 Braggin' Rights game became a shootout between Illinois' Andy Kaufmann and Missouri's Doug Smith. And Kaufmann got the upper hand in leading Illinois' "Young Guns" to its eighth straight win in the series, 84-81. Kaufmann scored a series-record 33 points for the Illini, making 11-of-23 shots. Twenty-one of his 33 points came from behind the arc, as Kaufmann nailed 7-of-14 three-pointers. While Kaufmann was the Illini star, Deon Thomas was just as important, scoring 23 points with eight rebounds and four blocks. The game was back-and-forth throughout the second half. Illinois went ahead 79-73 on a Larry Smith breakaway with 2:28 left. Missouri cut it to two with under 30 seconds to play on a 3-pointer, but Tom Michael made one free throw with :15 left to make it a 3-point game. Missouri missed a pair of potential game-tying 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds.

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1995 - #14 Illinois 96, #15 Missouri 85 (OT)
No. 14 Illinois improved to 8-0 on the season, defeating No. 15 Missouri in overtime in Lou Henson's final Braggin' Rights game. The UI win snapped a four-year Missouri winning streak. Six of the nine Illini players who entered the game scored in double figures, led by Kiwane Garris' 23 points. Garris shot just 4-of-17 from the field, but connected on 15-of-16 free throws. The Illini were up by as many as 10 in the second half before Missouri came back. The game was tied at 75-all when MU's Corey Tate missed a pair of free throws with :37 left. Garris then had his potential game-winning layup blocked by Julian Winfield, forcing OT. Jerry Hester became the Illini spark, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and putting the finishing touches on the win with a dunk at the end as Illinois outscored Mizzou 21-10 in the overtime period.

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2000 - #5 Illinois 86, Missouri 81 (OT)
5th-ranked Illinois ended its three-year losing streak to Missouri by defeating Tigers 86-81 in overtime in Bill Self's first Braggin' Rights game. Brian Cook scored a game-high 25 points, 23 of which came in the first half, and was one of four Illini to finish in double figures. Frank Williams scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half and overtime. Williams twice tied the game in the final 1:30 on consecutive baskets, forcing overtime. His 3-point play with two minutes left in overtime gave the Illini a seven-point advantage and secured the win.

2003 - #21 Illinois 71, #11 Missouri 70
Bruce Weber became the third straight Illini coach to win his inaugural Braggin' Rights game, leading the Illini to its fourth consecutive win in the series. Dee Brown scored 18 points and had six assists and six rebounds, while James Augustine added a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Illinois never trailed in the game after a red-hot start, leading by as many as 21 points in the first half. But Missouri chipped away at that lead in the second half, tying it at 67-all with 1:30 remaining on a 3-pointer by Travon Bryant. Nick Smith then fed Augustine for a go-ahead lay-up with :57 left. On the ensuing possession, Smith stole a pass to give the Illini the ball back. After missing two free throws, Dee Brown got his own offensive rebound and this time made a pair of free throws with :18 left to make it a four-point game. A 3-pointer by Missouri's Jimmy McKinney with four-tenths of a second left made the final margin one point.

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2008 - Illinois 75, #25 Missouri 59
Illinois brought home the Braggin' Rights trophy for a school- and series-record ninth straight year, defeating Missouri by 16 points. Illinois jumped out to a double-digit lead nine minutes into the game, led 40-22 at halftime, and enjoyed a 64-40 advantage with six minutes remaining. Trent Meacham had a game-high 23 points while Demetri McCamey scored 20, including 18 in the first half.

1993 -Missouri 108, #19 Illinois 107 (3OT)
Even though it was a loss, this is a game both Illinois and Missouri fans will never forget. A plethora of missed free throws proved costly for the 19th-ranked Illini in the 1993 Braggin' Rights game. Illinois let a nine-point lead with 1:23 left in regular slip away, and then had a five-point lead in the first overtime that also slipped away. Illini guard Kiwane Garries scored a game-high 31 points, but he'll always be remembered for missing a pair of free throws with no time on the clock in the second overtime. A 91 percent free throw shooter entering the game, Garris made just 12-of-22 against the Tigers that night and need only 1 of 2 to win the game in the second overtime. Garris also missed 3-of-4 free throws in the final minute of regulation and 6-of-8 in the first two overtimes combined. As a team, Illinois hit just 32-of-51 from the line. Deon Thomas had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Orange and Blue, while Shelly Clark added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Richard Keene also poured in 17. 

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