COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Jordan Barnett matched his career best in scoring just three days after he achieved it as Missouri defeated Vanderbilt 72-52 on Saturday.
Barnett scored a career-high 23 points in a 76-73 loss at Texas A&M on Wednesday and did it again in Mizzou’s win on Saturday.
“It was really fun,” Barnett said. “Not just from the standpoint of me scoring, but, I know I played as hard as a I could. We played extremely hard and it seemed like we forced them to lay down and we took over. It feels really good to be able to win in that fashion.”
Barnett also hauled in nine rebounds, and has now scored 69 points in the Tigers’ last four games.
“I’m really proud of him because I’ve been hard on him,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. “He’s finally being more aggressive for longer. I think he tended, in the past, to defer to other people, and he’s a very talented basketball player. I think he took advantage of his opportunities tonight.”
Kevin Puryear had 13 points and eight rebounds, Terrence Phillips added 12 points and Russell Woods pitched in 10 points for Missouri (7-17, 2-10 Southeastern Conference).
“We knew that he was coming in very hot,” Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said of Barnett. “He makes 3s in a variety of ways, he gets to the rim and we knew the scouting report coming in. Unfortunately, he hit some tough shots with guys in his face, so you’ve really got to credit him.”
Missouri led 35-29 at halftime after shooting 50 percent from 3-point range in the first half. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Puryear sparked an early 11-0 run that lasted 3:14 and gave the Tigers a seven-point lead, its largest of the half.
Luke Kornet led the way for Vanderbilt with 11 points and five rebounds. Matthew Fisher-Davis, who entered the game averaging 15.6 points per game, scored just eight on 1 of 5 shooting. Nolan Cressler, Riley LaChance and Clevon Brown each added eight.
The Commodores (12-13, 5-7) entered the game leading the SEC in 3-pointers made, but struggled from distance, shooting just 21.4 percent, including 1-for-15 in the second half.
“We feed off the three-point shot,” Drew said. “We win games by it and we lose games by it. It’s just how this team is built. I thought we had some really good looks, especially in that second half. When you miss and you don’t get any easy baskets.it’s hard to work your way back into the game.”
Phillips was knocked to the ground as the first half expired and had to be restrained by teammates and referees while Vanderbilt made its way to the locker room. After both teams had left the floor, Jordan Geist and Jeff Roberson received technical fouls. The Tigers were involved in a similar halftime skirmish in a 71-66 loss at Georgia on Jan. 7. Phillips finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
The Tigers continued their hot shooting in the second half, led by Puryear and Barnett, who combined to shoot 8-for-11 from 3-point range. With its offense clicking, Missouri played perhaps its best defensive half of the season, holding the Commodores without a field goal for the final 12:13.
“When (Vanderbilt) made a run, we fought back,” Anderson said. “I think that says a lot about our guys and our defense and just the way that we were able to play.”