Mizzou men's Basketball starts season with a 68-55 win over Central Arkansas
COLUMBIA- The Mizzou men's basketball season got underway Tuesday in Columbia with a win against Central Arkansas. The game served as a first glance into what the future without Jontay Porter would be like. Despite winning 68-55, that future looks like an ugly one.
The first half was highlighted by sloppy play from both teams.
They combined to score 25 total points through the first 10 minutes of the game. Neither could manage to shoot better than 35% during that stretch, and it barely improved by half time.
The Tigers had just three players shooting better than 33% entering half.
One in particular, Mark Smith was a light in the darkness of the rest of the team. The Illinois transfer made his first three shots of the game, all 3-pointers, and led Mizzou with nine points in the half helping the team to a 30-20 lead at the break.
Whatever Head Coach Cuonzo Martin said to his team at half during the break must have helped, since the Tigers came out of the break hot.
They quickly extended the lead to 17, following a pair of threes from Smith and layups from Jordan Geist and Jeremiah Tilmon. The mistakes began to show again as UCA closed the gap to seven once again on an Eddy Kayouloud layup with 10:51 remaining.
The Tigers, however, led by Smith and Tilmon would never allow the lead to shrink further than that.
The duo scored 20 of the Tigers 38 2nd half points, pushing the lead back to double digits and keeping it there. Smith finished with 19 points and also shown on the boards with 10. Tilmon ended with 16 points and 5 rebounds as well as a pair of key blocks.
Kayouloud paced Central Arkansas with 19.
Up next for the Tigers is a trip to Ames, Iowa to take on the Iowa State Cyclones on Friday.