Missouri beats Vanderbilt, picks up first road SEC win

The Tigers won their first SEC road game of the year behind Xavier Pinson’s 17 points.

Missouri men’s basketball accomplished two feats on Wednesday that have been uncommon for much of the season.

First, the Tigers had all 12 eligible players on the roster suited up and available to play. With guard Mark Smith and forward Jeremiah Tilmon back from injuries, it was the first time every Tiger was healthy since Jan. 4 against Kentucky.

Second, Missouri (14-14, 6-9 SEC) picked up its first road win of the year in Southeastern Conference play, beating basement-dweller Vanderbilt (9-19, 1-14 SEC) 61-52.

It was about as pretty of a game as one might expect from the teams sitting in last and fourth-to-last in the SEC, featuring a combined 33 turnovers and 30 missed 3-pointers. In what proved to be the difference in the game, Vanderbilt was abysmal from the free throw line, shooting 16-29. Missouri was 13-15.

As he has in so many games this season, sophomore guard Xavier Pinson led the way for Missouri down the stretch, attacking the basket and scoring 15 of his 17 points in the second half after missing much of the first because of foul trouble.

After a closely contested start to the game, Vanderbilt went on a 16-4 run to open up a 25-18 lead late in the first half. Missouri responded with a 9-2 run of its own to close out the period and enter the break down 28-27.

Compared to the run-defined first half, the second was much less bumpy for the Tigers, who took the lead with 17:49 left and never trailed after.

Forward Reed Nikko ended the game with a career-high 14 points. Scottie Pippen Jr. led Vanderbilt with 19.

Missouri’s next game will be at home against Mississippi State on Saturday, Feb. 29.

Edited by Eli Hoff | ehoff@themaneater.com

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