ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Losing a big second-half lead made Missouri’s third consecutive loss even more painful.
Toumani Camara scored 15 points, including a big three-point play, and Georgia rallied to beat No. 20 Missouri 80-70 on Tuesday night.
Missouri (13-6, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) blew a 48-35 lead following a dominant start to the second half.
“You put yourself in a position to win it on the road, you’ve got to find a way to win it,” coach Cuonzo Martin said.
Camara said it was important that the Bulldogs, faced with their own streak of two consecutive losses, played with even more hunger than the Tigers.
“I believed … the most desperate team will probably win the game,” Camara said.
Missouri dropped 10 spots in this week’s Top 25.
Kobe Brown led the Tigers with a career-high 21 points. Mark Smith and Xavier Pinson had 11 apiece.
Missouri forward Parker Braun said the Tigers “stopped being aggressive” after building the big second-half lead.
“We’ve just got to stay locked in for a full 40 minutes and be ready to play down the stretch,” Braun said.
Tigers center Jeremiah Tilmon missed his second consecutive game while away from the team following a death in his family.
Justin Kier led Georgia (13-8, 6-8) with 16 points.
Camara’s three-point play with 4:55 left broke a 62-all tie, launching an 18-8 run to end the game.
Missouri led 37-33 at halftime despite making only 3 of 15 3-pointers. The Tigers made 6 of 26 for the game. The modest total of first-half 3s included a long jumper by Dru Smith with 31 seconds remaining in the half.
Georgia opened the second half with turnovers on its first three possessions, paving Missouri’s path to nine unanswered points. A 3-pointer by Mark Smith capped the run.
The Bulldogs were held without a field goal for almost six minutes after the break before Andrew Garcia’s tip-in ended the drought.
Jaxon Etter helped Georgia narrow the deficit. Etter scored on a layup, sank two free throws following his steal and had a defensive rebound to set up a basket by Garcia, trimming the Tigers’ lead to 50-45. Etter added a 3-pointer from the corner, leaving Missouri’s lead at two points.
Georgia finally pulled even at 53-all on K.D. Johnson’s steal and layup for his first points of the game. P.J. Horne’s 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the half at 57-55. Kier added another long 3 to extend the lead to five points.
Missouri: The Tigers outscored Georgia 21-12 in points off turnovers. Missouri couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity to end its first losing streak of the season after falling to No. 37 in the NCAA’s NET ranking used to pick the NCAA tournament field.
Georgia: Garcia had 13 points. Sahvir Wheeler added 12 points. Johnson scored each of his 10 points in the second half, including six on free throws. … The Bulldogs recovered following consecutive losses to Top 25 teams Tennessee and Alabama.
Brown’s previous season high was 14 points at Wichita State on Dec. 6, 2020. His previous top scoring game of his career was 17 against Arkansas last season.
The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Brown took advantage of his size advantage against the smaller Georgia front line.
“It felt good,” Brown said. “I just wanted to win, honestly. I wasn’t even the one who noticed the mismatch first. … (Martin) pointed it out and I just went with it.”
Tilmon averages 12.8 points and ranks fourth in the SEC with 7.8 rebounds per game.
Martin said he has talked with the junior. “I guess he’s doing as well as he can do right now, when you lose a loved one,” Martin said. “We expect him back soon.”
Missouri: Visits South Carolina on Saturday.
Georgia: Visits Florida on Saturday.