Missouri upset by Charleston Southern in Martin’s second nonconference loss at home

Missouri upset by Charleston Southern in Martin’s second nonconference loss at home
Jeremiah Tilmon posts up during Missouri's upset loss to Charleston Southern. Photo by Andrew Moore

Cuonzo Martin knew something was off with his team with just 10 minutes left to go in the game.

“Just didn’t feel right,” he said. “We just didn’t have the right flow, the right momentum. We were just chugging along.”

Missouri started slow, a problem it also faced in last week’s Hall of Fame Classic, allowing Charleston Southern University to jump out ahead to a 9-point lead just under eight minutes in. While the Tigers would take a lead going into halftime and maintain it throughout the start of the second half, trouble set in at that 10 minute mark.

Redshirt freshman Travis Anderson hit a layup to give the Buccaneers back their lead. After staying close with a few free throws and a Jeremiah Tilmon dunk, the Tigers let the Bucs get ahead not long after, and the underdogs wouldn’t relinquish their lead.

Missouri (4-4) fell to Charleston Southern (3-5) 60-68 on Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena. It was only the second nonconference loss at home for the Tigers since Martin became coach.

It was a loss he said he won’t be quick to forget.

“This obviously hurt because one, you want to protect your home court,” Martin said. “They played well. We didn’t play well. We didn’t flow well. We didn’t defend well, especially in the second half.”

Tilmon led Missouri in scoring for the second time, tallying 15 points and nine rebounds. Redshirt junior Mitchell Smith scored 10 in 12 minutes on the court and shot perfect from 3-point range.

Neither team was quick to start, each holding the other scoreless in the first two minutes before CSU’s Phlandrous Fleming hit a jumper to put his team ahead. Missouri freshman Kobe Brown was quick to match with his own bucket, but the Tigers fell in the hole when the Buccaneers hit a triple, a layup and a dunk to give themselves a 7-point lead within a 2-minute stretch.

A dunk by Tray Jackson around the 11-minute mark of the first half could have kickstarted Missouri’s offense had it not been nullified by Tilmon’s second foul of the night.

It wasn’t long after that though that the Tigers did start to heat up, with Mitchell Smith hitting a midrange bucket from off the bench and Brown following shortly after with Missouri’s first triple. The trio of Smith pulled through to tie up the game: Mark Smith and Mitchell Smith each sank a pair of free throws and then Dru Smith hit his first bucket of the night.

Charleston Southern was quick to pull away again. A layup by Dontrell Shuler and then a jumper and pair of three throws from junior Ty Jones boosted the Buccaneers ahead once more.

Points off the bench were what gave Missouri its halftime lead, with Reed Nikko scoring on a pair of layups and Mitchell Smith hitting two triples. The Tigers went into the half up by 5 points.

“You don’t put them away, they’re gonna feel like they have life and can hang with you, and they did that tonight,” Mitchell Smith said. “We just gotta learn how to put teams down when we’ve got them down and step on their throats, but we’re gonna get there for sure.”

Missouri had 16 turnovers, just short of the season-high 20 it had against Xavier, while Charleston Southern gave up the ball only seven times.

For once, Tilmon wasn’t the one to find himself deep in foul trouble. Instead, it was Dru Smith, who fouled out with 8:36 left in the game after making just one basket.

“I think it hurts because he’s a guy you’re counting on,” Martin said. “Dru’s an intelligent player. He knows better than that.”

While the loss was certainly an unexpected one, Tilmon said the talk in the locker room post-game was all positive as the team looks towards a road game at Temple on Saturday.

“Nobody expects to lose; nobody wants to lose,” he said. “As soon as the game was over we made sure nobody had they heads down, we just talking all positive. We let it go already. Game’s over with, we don’t think about it no more.”

Edited by Wilson Moore | wmoore@themaneater.com

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