COLUMBIA, MO.– Mizzou Men’s Basketball used a hot second half to down a stingy Liberty squad, 69-60, on Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers are 4-0, winning those contests by an average margin of 13.5 points per game to launch the season.
Mizzou outpaced the Flames, 41-28, in the second half and used a dominant 19-4 run midway through the frame to pull ahead by 13. Liberty couldn’t pull within fewer than nine the rest of the way as Mizzou’s defense shut down the Flames in the final minutes.
Senior guards Mark Smith and Dru Smith led Mizzou with 31 combined points. Mark led all scorers with 17 points on 5-of-12 shooting. The reigning SEC Player of the Week has scored at least 15 points in every game this season, shooting a ridiculous 52 percent from beyond the arc through four games.
Dru chipped in 14 points and junior Xavier Pinson added 12 points, seven boards and three assists.
Senior Jeremiah Tilmon controlled the paint with eight points and nine rebounds, helping Mizzou outrebound Liberty, 39-23. Mizzou grabbed 10 offensive boards and finished with 11 second-chance points.
The Tigers came out firing in the second half, surging in front by the 17:52 mark after trailing for most of the opening half. Dru Smith paved the way with three quick points, followed by another 3-pointer, courtesy of Mark Smith. The lead seesawed back and forth until the Tigers went on another 7-0 scoring run to widen the lead to 13 with 3:24 remaining. During that run Mizzou got five second-chance points on key offensive rebounds by Tilmon.
- Mark Smith led the team in scoring for the second consecutive game with 17 points, shooting 4-of-8 from beyond the arc while also snagging four rebounds.
- Redshirt senior Drew Buggs dished out a season-high five assists, and collected a pair of steals.
- Jeremiah Tilmon grabbed a team-high nine boards and posted eight points on 3-of-3 shooting. Tilmon added two dimes.
- Redshirt senior Mitchell Smith was key off the pine, scoring six points and grabbing a season-high seven rebounds.
- Mizzou’s current 5-game win streak dating back to the season finale last year is the squad’s longest since the 2018-19 campaign. It marks the fourth win streak of five or more games in the Cuonzo Martin era at Mizzou.
- Mizzou improved to 4-0 to start the season, the 34th such start in program history. The win also gives the Tigers a 2-0 record all time against Liberty.
- Wednesday night marked the 13th straight game in which multiple Tigers scored in double digits, and fifth straight with 3+ Tigers scoring in double digits.
- Dru Smith now has 77 consecutive games with a dime, making his 57th consecutive start.
- Mark Smith’s game-high 17 points gives him five consecutive games with 15+ points, dating back to last season.
Mizzou continues its homestand with the annual Braggin’ Rights game vs. Illinois. Tip is set for 7 p.m. CT on Saturday night at Mizzou Arena. No fans will be in attendance at the game.