Melvin Booker had a tremendous career at Missouri, but he returned to the state Thursday night a bit conflicted.
Booker, whose son Devin plays for Kentucky, wore a black shirt with long white sleeves that read “A House Divided” in Tigers’ gold and Wildcats’ blue above the logo for both schools.
“This is a place where I played for four years and had some good memories,” Melvin said. “Now, I get to see my son play against my team. I’m cheering for my son and Kentucky, but I’m cheering for Mizzou as well.”
Ultimately, blood is thicker than water, though Melvin said he planned to keep celebrations to a minimum.
“With them trying to be undefeated, I would like to see Kentucky win the game, but I would like to see Devin play well and Mizzou play well,” Melvin said.
Devin, who finished with nine points and four turnovers, was booed by MU fans nearly every time he caught the ball.
Melvin is the seventh-leading scorer in Tigers history with 1,697 points.
▪ Key play: Seconds after thundering down the lane for a two-handed slam, senior Keanau Post swatted a dunk try by Devin Booker in the stands.
▪ Key stat: Missouri, which shot 27.1 percent in a loss 16 days earlier at Kentucky, went 10 of 22 from the field, hanging tough by shooting 45.5 percent in the first half.
▪ Key play: Kentucky sophomore guard Andrew Harrison kicked off a decisive 18-4 run with a jumper around the 14-minute mark then scored the game’s next six points at the free-throw line.
▪ Key stat: Missouri committed 21 fouls and sent Kentucky to the free-throw line 27 times, where the Wildcats made 20 of them, during the second half.