Jonathan Friess, 23 Sports

Coming into this year’s annual Braggin’ Rights game between the University of Illinois (4-7) and the University of Missouri (7-3), Missouri was on a five-game series losing streak in this highly anticipated match up. This rivalry has lived up to the hype in past seasons as the outcomes in the past seven match ups between these two teams have all been decided by nine points or less. This year there was a little more fuel added to the fire as two former Illini commits and one former Illini player suited up in Tiger uniforms for tonight’s match-up.

In the first 3:35 of the game Illinois got off to a quick 12-4 lead on the Tigers, with Trent Frazier lighting it up early with two three-pointers and an assist. But Missouri dominated the rest of the half by a 35-23 margin to take a 39-35 lead into the locker room. In the second, the teams played fairly evenly for most of the half. A Trent Fraizer jumper gave the Illini a 56-55 lead with 7:43 remaining, but from then on it was all Tigers. Missouri ended the game on a 24-7 run to give the Tigers not only the victory but their most lopsided Braggin’ Rights win since 1994.

Current Tigers Jeremiah Tilmon, Javon Pickett, and Mark Smith all dreamed of competing in the Braggin Rights game together, but not in Tiger uniforms. All three players had given their original commitment to the University of Illinois; Mark Smith even played a season in the orange and blue. Now all three have teamed up at Mizzou to help the Tigers end the Fighting Illini’s five-game win streak in the annual contest. They scored a combined 37 points. Tilmon had 16 points and 12 rebounds, Javon Pickett put up 16 points on seven of eight shooting and Mark Smith notched five points and six rebounds. But they were not alone as Tigers senior guard Jordan Geist had an impressive stat line of 20 points, seven assists, and six rebounds, ultimately helping lead the Tigers to a 79-63 victory in the 38th annual Braggin Rights game.

For the Illini, Frazier had 28 points on 10 for 20 shooting with six three-pointers, but he didn’t get enough help from anyone else, with Giorgi Bezhanishvili and Aaron Jordan the only two other Illinois players landing in double figures, each with ten points.

The Missouri Tigers (8-3) now travel back to Columbia as they look to extend their win streak to six games as they close out their non conference schedule against Morehead State. The game will be at Mizzou Arena on Saturday December 29th at 1 p.m. The game will be aired on SEC Network.