Coming off an overtime victory against Central Florida, and a somewhat tumultuous start 7 game start to the season, Missouri men’s basketball fans had no idea what to expect last night.
A team who turned the ball over 25 times against Iowa State Nov. 9 forced nearly as many Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena.
The Missouri Tigers (5-3) found themselves with a handful of extra possessions as the Tigers cruised to a 65-45 win over the visiting UT-Arlington Mavericks (3-6).
In the first five minutes alone, UT-Arlington gave the ball away seven times. For perspective, the Mavericks were on pace to have 56 turnovers in one 40 minute game of basketball.
The Tigers started the game 3-10 from the field despite incredibly sloppy play from the Mavericks. With only a one-point lead nearly 10 minutes through the first half, Missouri began scoring in bunches and never looked back.
Following a media timeout with 10 minutes and change left in the first half, Missouri went on a 26-10 run to end the first half.
To cap it off, forward Mitchell Smith hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Tigers a 37-21 lead at the break.
Facing a UT-Arlington squad whose tallest starting player is 6 ft. 5 inches, Missouri was able to pound the ball inside consistently. Once the layups began to fall from in close, the 3-point game opened up for the Tigers.
This size advantage was helpful on the defensive end as Missouri limited UT-Arlington to just 9 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Nearly everyone contributed in the scoring column for Missouri, as all nine players who saw action put the ball through the hoop. Leading the way for the Tigers on offense though were two true freshmen in Torrence Watson and Javon Pickett.
A gifted scorer in high school at the Whitfield Academy in St. Louis, Torrence Watson has struggled to find his touch while playing in the black and gold shooting only 27.5% from the field heading into this game, but Watson shot 50 percent from three against UT-Arlington and led the Tigers with 12 points (4-9 FG).
The other freshman who hit double figures had himself a night as well. Javon Pickett, who scored the Tigers’ first 6 points off back-to-back triples, continued to impress on the defensive end with a steal and a block.
Also helping out with the cause on offense was sophomore Jeremiah Tilmon, who notched his second double-double (12 rebounds, 10 points) of the season. Tilmon’s ferocious effort on the glass as well as his 6-6 perfromance at the free-throw line was the difference for Missouri, as the Tigers out-rebounded the Mavericks by 8, and Tilmon hit 6 of the 10 total free throws made by Missouri.
Missouri continues their homestand this Friday against Oral Roberts before a marquee matchup against Xavier on Dec. 18.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org