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Jeff Roberson, Associated Press
Illinois' Meyers Leonard, center, heads to the basket past Missouri's Phil Pressey, left, and Missouri's Kim English, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011, in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — Phil Pressey had 18 points, five assists and two steals, and No. 9 Missouri held off a second-half charge by No. 25 Illinois for a 78-74 victory in the annual Braggin' Rights game on Thursday night.

Reserve Michael Dixon added 18 points and Ricardo Ratliffe had 14 for Missouri, which squandered a 13-point cushion before recovering late. The Tigers have won three straight in the series and they're 12-0 for the first time since a 19-0 start in 1981-82.

Joseph Bertrand came in off the bench and had a career-high 19 points on 9-for-9 shooting for Illinois (11-2) in its second loss in three games. Brandon Paul had 19 points and nine rebounds.

Illinois led 70-68 after three free throws by D.J. Richardson with 2:01 to go, but Missouri answered with seven straight points.