By Jack Knowlton
OMAHA – Xavier Pinson scored 22 points, including 19 in the second half, as Missouri men’s basketball romped to a win over the No. 21-ranked Oregon Ducks.
The Tigers roared out of the gates, jumping out to an early lead that would prove insurmountable for Oregon. Mark Smith hit two threes in a row to spark an early run, while Pinson was fairly cold out of the gate with just three points in the first half. The Tigers were also helped by the resurgence of Jeremiah Tilmon Jr. who finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, and added a few dunks.
Oregon made it difficult for the Tigers in the second half, throwing in a full court press and forcing turnovers. Oregon also outrebounded the Tigers, and Missouri’s strong three-point shooting out of the gate did not carry over to the second half. The Tigers finised with just a 29% clip from beyond the arc.
However, composed play from Missouri allowed them to hold out for the 83-75 win, Missouri’s first against a ranked opponent since Feburary 15 when the Tigers defeated No. 11 Auburn.
Along with Pinson and Tilmon, Mark Smith, Dru Smith, and Javon Picket all finished in double figures in points. If the Tigers can continue this high volume scoring and improve their shooting from beyond the arc, Missouri will certainly be a force to be reckoned with as the season progresses.
The Tigers move to 2-0 on the season and Oregon falls to 0-1, with the big question following this matchup being “is this enough to warrant a jump into the AP Top 25 for Missouri?”
Edited by Emma Moloney