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Updated: Saturday, December 27, 2003 4:54 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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Memphis 61, (14) Missouri 59

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Antonio Burks has become a leader for a young Memphis team.

Burks scored 17 points and freshman Sean Banks added 13 and eight rebounds as Memphis held on for a 61-59 victory over 14th-ranked Missouri.

A senior guard, Burks scored 11 points in the first half, when Memphis had struggling Missouri on its heels. He finished 7-of-15 from the floor, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range.

"This team is young, but the catalyst has become Antonio Burks," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "I do not want him to be our leading scorer, but the way he ran the club, he tried to get everybody involved. Some people missed some shots, he tried to get everybody involved."

Burks' contribution was vital as Memphis leading scorer Rodney Carney, who averages 15.5 points, left early in the second half after getting hit in the head. He had only four points and three rebounds in 16 minutes.

Jeremy Hunt snapped a 9-9 tie and gave the home team the lead for good with a 3-pointer with 14:19 left in the first period. It ignited a 20-5 run - capped by Modibo Diarra's layup - that provided Memphis with a 29-14 advantage with 8:04 before halftime.

Missouri managed to go into the intermission trailing by only 33-26 and pulled within 60-59 on Rickey Paulding's 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left. After a free throw by Memphis, Missouri's Jimmy McKinney attempted a running 3-point shot from about 40 feet out, but the ball hit the glass and back rim as time expired.

"This was a great effort," Calipari said. "This team, if we battle, is going to be all right."

Hunt came off the bench to chip in nine points and seven rebounds for Memphis (7-2), which improved to 6-0 at home with its third straight win. It raised its record vs. Missouri to 7-4 in the all-time series.

"I would think the switch got flipped too late today," said Missouri coach Quin Snyder, whose team shot just 24 percent (9-of-37) from the field in the first half. "In the first half, we had a ton of opportunities in the paint and could not convert."

Both teams shot 34 percent from the field. While Missouri held a 49-39 rebounding edge, it committed 16 turnovers.

It was the second straight slow start for Missouri, which fell behind by as many as 19 points in a 71-70 loss to Illinois on Tuesday.


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