Missouri hoops never got into a groove and fell back below .500 after South Carolina trip.
Coming into Saturday, Missouri hoops had only won one game in the past five contests. South Carolina had only lost one game in that same span. The Tigers’ win was their latest outing, but on Saturday, they continued to decline while the Gamecocks continued to ascend.
South Carolina (13-8, 5-3 SEC) won the game 76-54 against Missouri (10-11, 2-6) in Columbia, South Carolina. The Gamecocks were led by Malik Kostar, who had a game-high 21 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks to lead his team. Missouri didn’t have a player to match that performance Saturday.
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Missouri was playing without starting guard Mark Smith, who injured his lower back in Tuesday’s win over Georgia. Missouri also was without big man Jeremiah Tilmon, who now has missed eight games in a row. Both players were questionable for Saturday’s game.
With those two out, the Tigers’ lineup continued to get thinner. The Tigers were led by Xavier Pinson, who replaced Smith in the starting lineup and finished with a team-high 12 points. Pinson, who was the only Tiger player to reach double digits in points, was 3 of 4 from the 3-point line, but also had three turnovers and four personal fouls.
Missouri fell behind 39-26 at halftime, but unlike on Tuesday when Missouri came back from 20 points down in the second half, the Tigers didn’t have a chance. The closest Mizzou would get to was nine points, but South Carolina quickly went on a 9-0 run in three minutes to extend the lead to 18 with seven minutes to play.
Mizzou goes to Texas A&M on Tuesday to try to get back in the win column. The Aggies were thumped by Georgia on Saturday 63-48.