COLUMBIA, Missouri (Ticker) -- Arthur Johnson scored a career-high 30 points as 13th-ranked Missouri held on for a 77-69 victory over Baylor in the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams.
Johnson did most of his work in the low post as he shot 12-of-17 from the floor. He also pulled down 15 rebounds for his third straight double-double and seventh overall.
Johnson's previous career-best had been 24 points against Southern California and Sacramento State earlier this season and his 30-point night was the school's first since Kareem Rush netted 33 in the Big 12 tournament against Texas.
In this one, he almost collected a double-double by halftime with 13 points and nine rebounds as the Tigers (10-1) took a 35-25 lead into the locker room.
Johnson, who came in averaging 15.5 points per game, helped Missouri fend off a stiff challenge from Baylor, which hung around throughout the contest.
"This is his first season being a primary guy," Tigers coach Quin Snyder said. "He's trying to become a great player. He wants to be a great player. His mental toughness is really where all of that comes from. When's he's tough-minded, he has the physical ability to do a lot of things on the offensive end and on the defensive end."
But Johnson's biggest contribution to the Tigers' eighth straight home win was against Baylor's leading scorer Lawrence Roberts. Roberts, who came in averaging 15.8 points per game and had recorded four double-doubles, was limited to a season-low six points in 29 foul-plagued minutes.
"A.J. takes advantage of everything," Baylor coach Dave Bliss said. "He played a terrific game. We had no answer for him especially when R.T. (Guinn) and Roberts got in foul trouble. He has an amazing soft touch and he's going to be a terrific player as long as he wants to play."
The Bears were within 72-69 with 1:45 remaining after Kenny Taylor made his seventh 3-pointer, but Johnson converted a three-point play 17 seconds later and Missouri's defense forced Baylor into missing four 3-pointers in the final minute.
"Baylor got hot late when they were down and they were playing with a lot of confidence," Snyder said. "I was pleased to see our guys make some great plays down the stretch. We knew they were great shooters and that was part of game plan - to take away the threes."
Taylor, who finished with 23 points, missed a pair of 3-pointers and Terrance Thomas and John Lucas also misfired from beyond the arc as Baylor (9-3) lost in its first encounter with a ranked team this season.
Taylor made 7-of-15 3-pointers as Baylor shot 27 percent (10-of-37) from beyond the arc and 38 percent (26-of-69) overall.
The Tigers have won three straight following a tough loss to Illinois on December 21 and avenged last season's 81-80 setback at Baylor.
"I wanted to take it to those guys anyway whether they (Roberts and Thomas) were in there or not," Johnson said. "They beat us last year. They were still in the back of my head and I wanted to take it to them."
Missouri appeared on its way to an easy win in its conference opener as six different players had a basket in the first five minutes. It's largest lead was 26-14 following Rickey Paulding's thunderous dunk with 6:44 remaining.
The Tigers built their cushion to 56-44 following Josh Kroenke's 3-pointer with just over eight minutes left. But Thomas drilled four 3-pointers to bring his team back.
Paulding added 15 points and Ricky Clemons chipped in 11 as the Tigers shot 50 percent (28-of-56) and outrebounded Baylor, 43-34.
Lucas added 18 points, but Guinn, a 6-10 center who is Baylor's biggest starter, left after scoring the first basket of the game with an apparent concussion.