COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Mark Smith scored 19 points to lead Missouri to a 71-56 victory over Northern Kentucky on Friday.
Smith didn't score in the Tigers' season opener on Wednesday, but he established himself early against the Norse, scoring 15 points in the first half as Missouri (2-0) opened a 33-29 lead. The junior hit 4 of 7 from 3-point range.
Guard Tyler Sharpe led Northern Kentucky (1-1) with 18 points, with Trevon Faulkner and Silas Adheke scoring 10 points each.
The Tigers broke open the game in the second half, jumping out to a quick 50-39 lead and keeping the Norse at bay.
Missouri got good production from its frontcourt. Center Jeremiah Tilmon had 13 points and Mitchell Smith and Kobe Brown each scored 10.
Missouri: By dominating a team that returned four starters and went to the NCAA Tournament last season, the Tigers validated the idea that they might be much improved over last year.
Northern Kentucky: The Norse struggled against Missouri's stingy defense, shooting only 37% from the floor. It didn't help that one of the team's top players, Jalen Tate, made just 1 of 4 shots and committed five turnovers.
Missouri: The Tigers visit Xavier on Tuesday.
Northern Kentucky: The Norse head to the East Coast on Tuesday to play Coastal Carolina, which lost its home opener to Campbell.
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