Missouri basketball big man Reed Nikko had a career-high 13 points in their win over the Georgia Bulldogs on Tuesday night.
When Missouri basketball was behind 20 points, the Tigers came together as a team to come back to take the win away from the Georgia Bulldogs on Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena.
The victory may have saved the season, as it kept Missouri from going down two games under .500 so late in the year. And perhaps momentum now is on the Tigers’ side. One key player in the comeback was big man Reed Nikko.
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Nikko picked up a career-high 13 points in the victory and made big plays down the stretch to help the Tigers win.
Mizzou cut into the deficit with the help of Big ‘Sota.
Nikko, a senior from Maple Grove, Minnesota, scored 11 of his 13 points during the Tigers’ second-half rally, in which they overcome a 59-39 deficit in the final 13 1/2 minutes of the game to win 72-69. In the first half, Nikko had two points and two fouls. That all changed in the second half.
After the Tigers were back in the game, Nikko served as one of the major factors in taking the lead and eventually winning the game.
Mizzou saw a zone defense late in the game and forward Mitchell Smith dished a pass between two defenders in the paint to find Nikko for a dunk. Nikko’s slam cut the Bulldogs lead to one point with 3 minutes to play.
Nikko was fouled less than a minute later, and he hit both of his free throws to take the 66-65 lead. His four-point run gave Mizzou its first lead since 11:13 in the first half. But Nikko wasn’t finished.
A back-and-forth final two minutes set the stage for Nikko’s big defensive stand in the waning seconds.
Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards, who had a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds, cut to the hoop after a lane opened up and the future NBA’er looked for an easy layup to tie the game. But Nikko came from behind to block the potential top-five pick’s basket with nine seconds to play. Smith grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled, saving Mizzou’s 71-69 lead.
Nikko’s defense was just as important as his offense on Tuesday.
His final stat line for the game was 13 points, five rebounds, two blocks, two assists and a steal in 26 minutes. Nikko is 30 points away from a season high in total points, and with the absence of Jeremiah Tilmon for a big portion of the season, the Tigers will continue to rely on Nikko.
More plays like those against Georgia will be needed over the next 11-plus games.