Smith closes out win for Missouri after nail biter second half

The Tigers finished their first game of the 2018 Paradise Jam with a 55-52 win over the Owls led by Puryear, who tallied 17 points.
Missouri guard Mark Smith boxes out CAU center Hayden Koval on a free throw during an eventual 68-55 win for the Tigers on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 at Mizzou Arena.

With just 16 seconds left in the game, Kennesaw State called a timeout, the ball in its possession, possibly for the remaining time.

Missouri had the lead 52-50, but they needed to seal the win.

The clock started up again with the ball in Kennesaw State’s possession, but quickly wound up in Missouri hands after a turnover by KSU forward Kosta Jankovic.

Mark Smith took advantage of the opportunity, taking the ball off of an assist from Ronnie Suggs and tacking 2 points onto the Tiger lead with a layup.

Missouri (2-1, 0-0) barely defeated the Kennesaw State Owls (1-3, 0-0) Friday afternoon in the first round of the 2018 Paradise Jam. With the win, it advances to the semi-finals Sunday afternoon against Oregon State, who closed out its opening game 61-56 against Old Dominion.

After trailing by the smallest of margins for the first 8 minutes to Kennesaw State, Jeremiah Tilmon jump-started Missouri’s first lead of the game with an easy dunk before extending the lead less than a minute later with a jumper. He helped keep that lead through the end of the first half, but quickly lost it in what ended up being a tumultuous second half.

The sophomore finished the game with 12 points, going 6-14 in shooting for the Tigers. He also finished with 9 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Kevin Puryear barely outscored his younger counterpart, leading the team with 17 points and 6 rebounds. The pair barely kept Missouri afloat in a second half that saw the lead flip flop four times throughout the half.

As a whole, Missouri continued to struggle with 3-pointers, going 3-17 in the whole game. Smith logged one of those, and finished with 7 points.

The Tigers’ largest lead occurred with just 5 minutes left in the first half, when a Tilmon layup pushed Missouri into an 11-point lead.

Missouri suffered similar struggles in the second half of the game as it did during the first half of last week’s loss to Iowa State. Although it only gave away 4 turnovers in the first half, it tacked on 9 more in the second for a total of 13. However, in the grand scheme of things, the Tigers ended up on the other side of turnover problems this game, scoring 14 points off of Kennesaw State’s 17 turnovers.

If the Tigers were to win Sunday’s matchup against the Beavers, they could potentially meet the No. 12 Kansas State Wildcats for the championship game on Monday night.

Edited by Adam Cole |

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