ST. LOUIS – Mizzou Men’s Basketball (7-4) defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini, 63-56, at the Enterprise Center on Saturday afternoon, earning its second-consecutive Braggin’ Rights victory. Saturday was the 50th overall meeting between Mizzou and Illinois, and the Tigers have now won consecutive games in the series for the first time since 2011-2012, and won their 14th overall Braggin’ Rights contest.
Mizzou featured three different players in double-digits, sophomore guard Xavier Pinson (14 points), sophomore guard Javon Pickett (17 points) and junior guard Dru Smith (19 points). The smothering Mizzou defense forced 17 turnovers, the second most of the season, and held the Illini to lengthy scoring droughts on three separate occasions.
Illinois led much of the first 20 minutes, however Mizzou stormed back on a 13-4 run to close the half for a 26-23 lead thanks to eight-consecutive points from Dru Smith. The 23 points for the Illini marked their second-lowest scoring half of the season.
Mizzou came out hot in the second half, extending the run out to 19-5. The tough Tiger defense was again stifling in the second half, holding the Illini to only one field goal in the first 10 minutes. Javon Pickett again showed up in a big way for the Tigers in the annual Braggin’ Rights game, scoring a season-high 17 points (one more point than his 16 in last year’s victory).
In the second half, Kobe Brown collected his fourth steal on the day, and finished the play off with a tough layup. On the ensuing Illini possession, Javon Pickett recorded another steal that he capped off with a layup to push the Tiger lead out to 14, the largest of the game for Mizzou. Illinois would close the gap to five with under a minute remaining, but multiple Dru Smith free throws sealed the seven-point victory for Mizzou.