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Mizzou Arena - Columbia, MO

Missouri claws back in second half to defeat Cougars

101 days ago
Missouri Athletics
Photo: Missouri Athletics

Columbia, Mo. -  A stifling second-half defensive effort got the Missouri men's basketball team back in the win column Monday night, defeating SIU Edwardsville 68-50 in front of 9,656 fans at Mizzou Arena. With the victory, the Tigers improve to 2-1 on the year, while the Cougars drop to 1-2.

Graduate guard Sean East II led the way for the Tigers on the offensive end, finishing with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting. The Louisville, Kentucky, native became the first MU player since 2007-08 to lead the team in scoring through each of the first three contests (DeMarre Carroll).

Graduate forward Noah Carter added to a one-two punch for Mizzou, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double in a Tiger uniform. Carter added three blocks which marks a career-high.

The teams weren't able to grasp momentum in the contest's early moments as neither school led by more than a bucket until the 12:04 mark of the first half, featuring four ties as well as four lead changes.

That was until Carter hit three straight 3-point attempts in the span of 80 seconds, boosting the Tiger lead to 18-14.

The Cougars clawed back to make it 21 all before back-to-back layups by East II ignited a 17-10 run to end the half.

Coming out of the break with a seven-point advantage, it was a deafening defense that gifted the Tigers a large cushion. SIUE only scored one bucket in the first 18:29 of the second stanza, allowing MU to begin the half on a 20-6 run.

The Cougars missed all but one of their first 21 field goal attempts in the second half, having a stretch of 16:32 without a single bucket from the floor. During the shooting slump, Mizzou forced six SIUE turnovers and outscored the opposition 26-11, rewarding MU with a comfortable victory.

Missouri shot 43.4 percent from the field, including an efficient 37.9 percent from deep while knocking down 11-of-14 free throw attempts. SIUE shot just 28.0 percent from the field, including 12.5 percent in the second half, but did convert 18-of-25 from the charity stripe.