COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Mark Smith scored 14 points and Missouri's offense came alive in the second half to defeat Oral Roberts 80-64 Friday night for its third win in a row.
The Tigers fed off the 3-point ball all game. Freshman Torrence Watson shot 4 for 4 from 3 and Smith knocked in three from beyond the arc as well. Missouri finished 12 for 26 from 3.
It wasn't all pretty for the Tigers, however. Missouri's bigs played with foul trouble all game. Forwards Jeremiah Tilmon, Mitchell Smith and Reed Nikko finished with four, three and four fouls, respectively.
Tilmon was called for two, including a technical, in his first six minutes of playing time. Off the bench, Nikko picked up four fouls in his first three minutes and Smith committed three fouls in his first four minutes.
As a result, the Golden Eagles had their way down low for most of the game. Emmanuel Nzekwesi took advantage of Missouri's foul situation and scored 17 points to lead Oral Roberts. Emir Ahmedic came off the bench for ORU to lead all players with 10 rebounds.
But nearly every time the Golden Eagles would cut a Tigers lead, Missouri would roar back with a big 3-pointer.
The turning point of the game came around the 13-minute mark in the second half when Missouri senior Jordan Geist sprinted down the court for a fastbreak layup and stole the following inbounds pass. He converted an and-one after the swipe to put the Tigers up 10. The basket was in the midst of a 10-0 run.
The Tigers would extend their second-half lead up to 29 before putting Oral Roberts away.
Oral Roberts: The Golden Eagles now have nine losses. Credit to Oral Roberts for staying in the contest against Missouri, but its defense slowed down in the second half.
Missouri: The Tigers are carrying momentum from this three-game winning streak into a two-game stretch against more challenging opponents, Xavier and Illinois. They'll need to play how they did in the second half, rather than the first, to win both of those matchups.
Oral Roberts has a break before playing Richmond on the road Dec. 15.
Missouri returns to Mizzou Arena Tuesday for a matchup against Xavier.