COLUMBIA, MO - The Tigers were dominating Oregon midway through the first half Wednesday night in Omaha. Mizzou put together an 18-3 run and led the 21st ranked Ducks 39-22 with 4:39 left in the half. Then things started to fall apart.
Mizzou would miss 15 straight shots. Oregon pulled within five early in the second half. Enter Xavier Pinson.
"I got to do whatever to get my guys going," Pinson said.
Pinson provided the second half spark the Tigers needed. He hit a three pointer to end Mizzou's slump and never looked back. 19 of his 22 points came after the break, quelling Oregon's rally and leading the Tigers to a statement victory in the non-conference season. Pinson said the 83-75 win was a long time coming.
"This game was bigger than myself, bigger than my teammates," Pinson said. "We just deserve it, our fans deserve it even though they can't be here right now."
It is the first Mizzou win over a top 25 ranked non-conference school since 2012 against Illinois. Head coach Cuonzo Martin said his team had the right mindset to finish the upset and break the streak.
"I thought it was a great team effort; I thought the guys were hungry," Martin said. "They were excited to play the game, and we got great results against a very talented team."
Pinson is picking up just where he left off last season. Mizzou's last win over a ranked opponent came last February over Auburn when Pinson led all scorers with 28 points. The Tigers have played eight games since then. Pinson has led Mizzou in scoring in all but three of them.
"He can do those type of things," Mizzou guard Javon Pickett said. "He's just doing whatever he needs to do to help the team win."
Pinson will look to keep the good times going on Sunday in the state of Kansas as Mizzou travels to play Wichita State. Tip off is at 1 p.m.
Photo courtesy of the Columbian Missourian