By Jack Knowlton
Missouri men’s basketball completed an incredible comeback Tuesday night, overcoming a 20-point deficit to snap a four game losing streak in a 72-69 win over Georgia.
Foul trouble and poor defending hurt the Tigers in the first half. Even worse, no Tiger was in double figures by the end of the first half.
Despite this, in the end, Mizzou finished with a balanced scoresheet. Five Tigers finished in double figures, with Xavier Pinson’s 16 points leading the way.
Georgia coach Tom Crean praised Missouri center Reed Nikko’s stellar performance, which included a clutch block with just a few seconds left.
“Reed Nikko changed the game, he changed the energy of the game for [Missouri],” Crean said. “You have to recruit that. You have to recruit the Reed Nikko’s of the world.”
Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin also praised Nikko’s 13-point, 5-rebound performance.
“He’s a representation of a guy in your program a locker room guy, and a guy that represents this university,” Martin said.
Momentum shifted towards the Tigers with about eight minutes left in the second half. The energy in the stadium ramped up as the Tigers were able to keep the ball away from the dangerous Anthony Edwards.
Missouri locked down the projected to be taken in the top five NBA Draft pick, was shut down in the last five minutes. This stifling defense, along with improved field goal and free throw shooting in the last five minutes narrowed the gap.
The Tigers took their first lead since early in the game with just under two minutes to go, and Mizzou Arena was loud as the Tigers looked to complete a comeback. With the game tied with a minute to go, in a classic finish. Free throws and defense sealed a great comeback win for Mizzou.
For Georgia, Edwards was once again highly impactful. After a slow game against Mississippi State, Edwards bounced back against the Tigers. Splitting double teams and beating the Mizzou defense with some quick and crafty play, he finished with 23 points on the night, grabbing 10 boards and finishing his night with a double-double. Even so, he was stifled in the last five minutes and his fellow Bulldogs failed to pick up the slack.
Despite the win, Mizzou fans will be concerned about the status of Mark Smith, who left in the first half due to injury and did not play at all in the second half.
Missouri improved to 2-5 in SEC play with the win. The Tigers next travel for two in a row when they go on the road against South Carolina on Saturday and Texas A&M on Tuesday. Their next home game is February 8th against Arkansas. You can listen to that game live on KCOU 88.1 fm. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 P.M.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org