Well-balanced Missouri dominates Wagner
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri found no difficulty scoring in star freshman Michael Porter Jr.’s absence. Five different Tigers scored in double digits as the Tigers routed Wagner 99-55 on Monday night.
Kassius Robinson scored 23 points and Jontay Porter had 11 points and eight rebounds in Missouri’s victory.
Missouri (2-0) shot 68 percent from the field, including 12 for 22 from beyond the arc. Robertson led Missouri with five 3-pointers and eight different Tigers made at least one 3.
The Seahawks had trouble against Missouri’s height. Nobody on the Wagner (1-1) roster is listed as taller than 6 feet 9 inches, while the Tigers used three players — Jeremiah Tilmon, Jontay Porter and Reed Nikko — above 6 feet 10 inches. Wagner committed 32 fouls and had three players foul out.
“From the beginning of the game, they established their size and athleticism,” Wagner coach Bashir Mason said. “I thought that bothered our guys for the entire 40 minutes.”
Missouri’s scoring versatility has increased significantly from last season. Returners Kevin Puryear and Jordan Barnett have faced much less defensive pressure with a slew of newcomers, led by the Porter brothers, Robertson and Tilmon.
“There’s almost times where I can stand in the corner and I know I’ll get the shot at some point,” Barnett said. “I really think we do a good job of spreading the floor. You have a lot more weapons on this team than last year.”
The Tigers outscored Wagner in the paint (36-22) and 37-22 off the bench. Blake Francis led the Seahawks with 17 points.
Missouri: Even without their star freshman, Porter Jr., the Tigers look well-rounded to start the season. Freshmen Tilmon and Jontay Porter have each scored and helped free up the floor for returning players Barnett and Puryear.
Wagner: The Seahawks lost their four leading scorers from last year, and that was evident in their low-scoring effort against Missouri. Wagner will likely endure some growing pains after replacing nearly half of its roster.
Porter Jr., considered a potential lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, didn’t play against the Seahawks, and he also wasn’t seen on the bench. Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin specified his injury as a leg injury and said he didn’t know whether Porter Jr. will travel with the team for its game against Utah Thursday. The freshman played just 1 minute, 40 seconds against Iowa State last Friday.
Tilmon saw just 10 minutes and fouled out with 11:07 remaining in the second half. The freshman has been susceptible to foul trouble in both exhibition and regular season games this year.
Missouri was ranked just outside of the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, receiving nine votes. The Tigers trailed just Alabama, Rhode Island, Virginia, TCU and Providence among unranked teams receiving votes.
Missouri hits the road for the first time this season to face Utah. The Utes dominated Prairie View A&M and Mississippi Valley State in their first two contests.
Wagner plays its first home game Saturday against American, which got blown out against Kansas State to open its season.
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