Tigers upset by Georgia in SEC Tournament
ST. LOUIS - Michael Porter Jr.'s much-anticipated first game back in 118 days was met with disappointment after the 12-seed Georgia Bulldogs upset fifth-seed Mizzou 62-60 in the second round of the SEC Tournament.
As a team, the Tigers couldn't get anything going offensively all game long. Mizzou ended the game shooting a cold 34.4% from the floor, with Porter Jr. making only five of 17 shots.
First Team All-SEC honoree Kassius Robertson and senior Jordan Barnett, the Tiger's two leading scorers from the regular season, finished with a combined 10 points against Georgia. Throughout the regular season, the usual sharp-shooting duo averaged a combined 30.6 points per game.
Fouls were also a source for issues for Mizzou, and kept the Tiger's playing small through the latter end of the second half.
Forward Kevin Puryear fouled out with around 10 minutes left in the game, and finished with only two points. Freshman Jeremiah Tilmon followed Puryear to the bench a few minutes later when he got called for his fifth foul, an offensive charge in the paint that was met with resounding boos throughout Scottrade Center.
The lone bright spot for the Tigers came in the form of Jontay Porter. The SEC Co-Sixth Man of the Year scored 20 points, and along with his brother Michael, led the Tigers with eight rebounds.
Though Porter Jr. was clearly shaking off rust all game, there were some flashes of his raw talent. The superstar recruit sank a deep three in the final minute of the game to bring Mizzou within one point of Georgia.
A foul then brought Georgia freshman Rayshaun Hammonds to the line. Hammonds made his first attempt, but missed his second. However, the Tigers weren't able to rebound the ball, and Bulldog Nicolas Claxton came down with it, and was subsequently fouled and sent to the charity stripe.
Claxton missed both free throws, giving Tiger fans hope for a dramatic victory, or at least a tie to force overtime.
However, neither were the case. In the final Tiger possession, Robertson had an open look in the corner for a game-winning three-pointer, but bounced it off the back of the rim as time expired.
The Bulldogs' Yante Maten, a fellow First Team All-SEC selection, kept up his strong play in the SEC Tournament. Maten finished the game with a double-double, scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, six of which were of the offensive variety.
Georgia will go on to face Kentucky in the third round of the SEC Tournament, while the Tigers head back to Columbia to prepare for the NCAA Tournament.