NASHVILLE - With Georgia trailing by three in the final seconds of the game, Missouri held on for a 73-70 win in the second round of the SEC Tournament.  P.J. Horne missed a potential game-tying three pointer at the buzzer to preserve Mizzou's win.

The Tigers struggled offensively down the stretch, failing to convert a field goal in the final 6 minutes and 24 seconds of the game.  But some key free throws from Xavier Pinson and Dru Smith in the final minute helped the Tigers hang on.

"I think we just have to win the game," said Mizzou head coach Cuonzo Martin in his postgame press conference.  "I think we are who we are at this point.  It's simply put."

The game got started with a back-and-forth first half despite an early 6-0 run from Georgia. Javon Pickett stopped the run to put Missouri ahead 14-12. Pickett had a series of strong finishes, scoring 8 points for Missouri off the bench.

The Tigers trailed at 33-29 in the final minutes of the first half but were able to chip away at the Georgia lead. Kobe Brown sprinted down the court where Xavier Pinson met his pass and hit a 3-point buzzer beater to make it 33-32 Georgia at halftime.   Pinson led the Tigers with 17 points in the game, 12 coming in the first half.

Early in the second half Brown quickly turned into a star as he stretched Georgia's defense and shot back-to-back three-pointers. 

"Seeing those go in, it helped boost our confidence and our momentum a lot," Brown said.

His second three put Missouri ahead 39-38, giving them their first lead since the 25-25 tie in the first half. Brown had 13 points, 9 of those coming in the second half.

"All the coaches were telling me, 'I know you have more'," Brown said. "I just came out and tried to show more and give more. We didn't want to go home."

Head Coach Cuonzo Martin was vocal in pushing Brown to do more. "He's a different player when he plays with an edge," Martin said. "He's driving the ball, he's assertive."

Up 60-48 with 8 minutes left on the clock Missouri had an opportunity to put Georgia away, but the Bulldogs closed the gap and made it another close Missouri game.  A 9-0 Georgia run pulled the Bulldogs within a single point with three minutes left in the game.

Martin said his team focused on doing whatever it had to in order fend off Georgia's late push. "We're going to make a mistake here, turn it over, bad shot here, foul here," Martin said. "That's who we are. We just have got to find a way to win the game at this point."

They did just that. With the Tigers up 70-67 it came down to a pair of free throws from senior guard Dru Smith, who ended the night with 16 points, and another pair from Pinson to get Missouri the 73-70 win.

Going into the SEC Tournament quarterfinals, Missouri is looking for its first semifinal berth in program history. The team's last chance at a quarterfinal win was in 2019 when it fell to Auburn, 81-71.

This time, Missouri will meet Arkansas at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

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