Feb 09, 2020 4:00 AM

Pinson leads Missouri to 83-79 win over Arkansas in OT

Posted Feb 09, 2020 4:00 AM

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Plan A for Xavier Pinson was to drive the ball to the basket. That was the only plan Pinson needed as he scored a career-high 24 points to lead Missouri to an 83-79 overtime victory over Arkansas on Saturday.

"If they stopped it, I guess I would have tried Plan B," he said.

Pinson repeatedly drew contact and made his way to the free-throw line, where he hit 12 of 13 foul shots. Actually both teams spent most of the day at the line, combining for 83 free throws, but the Tigers (11-12, 3-7 Southeastern Conference) had Pinson on their side in overtime. He scored seven points in the extra period.

"It's having that killer mentality -- I would say Mamba mentality -- not being scared of anybody or anything," Pinson said of his mind-set.

Javon Pickett scored 14 points, Reed Nikko added 11 points and 11 rebounds and Dru Smith finished with 11 points and four steals for the Tigers. Missouri piled up a 52-35 edge in rebounds.

Reggie Chaney had a career-high 17 points and 11 rebounds for Arkansas (16-7, 4-6). Mason Jones scored 17, and Jimmy Whitt Jr. added 15. Chaney and Jones both fouled out in overtime.

"You're not going to win a game where you put an opponent on the foul line 44 times," Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. "We could have played the Milwaukee Bucks tonight and we wouldn't have fouled them 44 times. We've got to learn to defend without fouling, and it starts with being in a defensive stance."

Missouri led 36-30 at halftime. The Razorbacks took the lead with six minutes left in the second half as Whitt began driving to the basket at will. He made 3 of 4 free throws and a short bank shot on three straight possessions.

The game went back-and-forth for the rest of regulation. It swung to Missouri early in overtime when Jones fouled out on a charge and then Pinson drove to the basket for a layup, drew a foul and hit the free throw on the other end to give the Tigers a 73-69 lead.

"I'm happy he had 24 points, but I'm not surprised," Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said of Pinson. "He just did what he was supposed to do."

MORE TIME FOR TRAY

Missouri freshman forward Tray Jackson made a case for more playing time by scoring nine points on 4-of-5 shooting. In one key sequence late in regulation, he blocked a shot and then sprinted to other end and followed a missed shot with a dunk to give the Tigers the lead.

"The thing that will make Tray Jackson a great basketball player is he doesn't have a lot flowing through his ears," Martin said. "There's not a lot of people giving him advice. That will make him great. I think he's a talented player. He's athletic, strong, all those things. When you don't see him out there, the biggest reason outside of growth and understanding is he has to improve his conditioning."

On a team that's starved for offense, Jackson has shown the ability to get to the basket and score, but he has averaged less than eight minutes a game and didn't play at all in four games.

"Of course you want to show coaches you can do things, but that's not my mind-set when I step out there," Jackson said. "It's more of doing whatever I can to help my guys win."

HOMECOMING FOR WHITT

The well-travelled Whitt played his second college game in his hometown. As a freshman at Arkansas, he scored 15 points against Missouri in 2016. Then he transferred to SMU. He returned to Arkansas this season as a graduate transfer and again scored 15 against the Tigers.

Whitt has been battling a sore back and didn't score in the previous game against Auburn. He averages 14.7 points.

"He's a stabilizer for us," Musselman said. "He's a good defender. He can score for us. He's just a unique player because he plays that point guard position but scores so well around the rim and midrange."

BIG PICTURE

Missouri: It was the fifth-annual Rally for Rhyan game at Mizzou Arena. The game honors Rhyan Loos, the daughter of former Missouri assistant coach and current athletic administrator Brad Loos, and raises money for pediatric cancer research. Rhyan has been cancer-free for more than three years. Missouri is 5-0 in Rally for Rhyan games.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks entered the day projected as a No. 9 seed in the latest mock NCAA Tournament bracket by ESPN's Joe Lunardi, but they have been trending the wrong way. Arkansas has lost five of its last seven. If the Razorbacks don't make the tournament, they might look back with regret on consecutive overtime losses to Auburn and Missouri.

UP NEXT

Missouri: The Tigers visit 18th-ranked LSU on Tuesday.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks play at Tennessee on Tuesday.

--- Associated Press ---

Continue Reading St Joseph Post
Feb 09, 2020 4:00 AM
Griffons hold off UCM 84-80 for sixth straight victory

ST. JOSEPH – The Missouri Western men's basketball team (13-11, 9-4) ran its win streak to six games and moved to 9-0 in the MWSU Fieldhouse with an 84-80 victory over Central Missouri (9-13, 4-9) on Saturday.

The Griffons led for 33 minutes by as many as 16 points, but saw a tough UCM team make things interesting in the closing minute. With 11 seconds left, Will Eames missed the backend of a one-and-one at the free throw line that would have put MWSU up by five. The Mules answered with a quick layup to cut the lead to two before the Griffons turned it over on the ensuing inbounds pass. Eames then stole UCM's inbound, was quickly fouled and made his two free throws to secure the win for the Griffons.

Missouri Western's win and Rogers State's loss to Northeastern State left the Griffons just a half game behind Rogers State for third place in the MIAA standings with a tiebreaker via Missouri Western's win against the Hillcats earlier in the season. It also helped the Griffons match the 2002-03 MWSU team that won six-straight MIAA games.

NOTABLES

- Reese Glover tied Jonathan Phelps' MWSU single-game 3-point record with eight long range makes. The freshman went 8 for 12 from 3-point range and led all scorers with a career-high 26 points.

- Missouri Western shot 63% from the field in the first half, including 52.6% from 3-point range, going 19 for 19 beyond the arc to take a 14-point lead to halftime.

- For the game, MWSU shot 52.5% from the field and 42.9% from 3-point range with 15 makes.

- The lead changed nine times with four ties, but UCM's last lead came with 11:27 left before halftime.

- MWSU totaled 21 assists to just 12 turnovers. Tyrell Carroll and Tyus Millhollin each dished out six assists.

- It was the third time in the Griffons' last four games with five players scoring in double figures.

- Eames registered a double-double, scoring 11 points with 11 rebounds and four steals.

- Millhollin scored 16 points.

- Carroll had 10 points.

- Beau Baker was a point away from giving the Griffons six double-digit scorers and two double-doubles, pulling down 10 boards with nine points on 4 of 4 shooting from the field.

UP NEXT

The Griffs hit the road to take on Pittsburg State (9-13, 5-8) on Wednesday.

--- MWSU Athletics ---