JACKSONVILLE- A late rally in the second-half forced overtime, propelling the Missouri Tigers to a win over the SMU Mustangs in the first round of the Jacksonville Invitational.
It was a defensive game to start out. With the Tigers leading 18-11 midway through the first half, the Mustang offense got it going. The Mustangs ended the first half on an 18-0 run, giving them the lead headed into halftime, 29-18.
“I thought we got off to a great start, but then I thought we settled,” said Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin. “We didn’t set up our defense like we did in the first twelve minutes of the first half.”
However, the Tigers hung around throughout the second half. SMU led 51-39 with 8:31 left in the game, but the Tigers began to chip away at the lead.
With 1:50 left, Kobe Brown hit a jumper, closing the gap to 52-49. With 29 seconds left in regulation, DaJuan Gordon converted a fast-break layup plus a foul, making the free throw to force overtime.
In overtime, Brown hit a go-ahead three, and the Tigers did not look back. Ronnie DeGray III finished off the Mustangs with a three-point play with 8 seconds left, making it a two score game.
“He’s a selfless guy that’s all about winning, and it’s not about how many minutes he’s playing,” said Martin on DeGray III, who scored 18 points off the bench. “He’s a calming presence.”
The Tigers defeated the Mustangs in overtime, 80-75.
Brown led the charge for Missouri, scoring 19 of his 24 points in the second half, but Brown did not intentionally take more shots in the second half. He let the game come to him.
“I just tried to help my team get over the hump. We were in a drought,” said Brown. “My teammates did a really good job getting me the ball and getting me in the right spots.”
Mizzou will face Florida State for the Jacksonville Classic Championship on Monday at 7:30 pm CT on CBS Sports Network.