Mizzou basketball fell behind early and never could rebound from its slow start. Butler got the win in a defensive game.
Mizzou basketball guard Kobe Brown hit a 3-pointer in the first 10 seconds of Monday night’s game at the Sprint Center, and for a second, it looked like the Tigers would find some offense in this one. But a second is not long.
The Tigers went cold for the next five minutes, and were cold for most of the night, and the home-state team lost to Butler 63-52 in the first day of the Hall of Fame Classic. Mizzou basketball was evenly matched against its opponent, both coming in as two of the better defensive teams to start the season. But it was Butler that got the win.
In the second game, Stanford blew out Oklahoma in a minor upset, setting up a Butler-Stanford title game while former Big 12 foes Mizzou and Oklahoma will play Tuesday first in the consolation game.
The Tigers got some offense from guard Dru Smith. The junior scored 19 points on 8 of 13, while Brown finished the game 4 of 5 with nine points. Xavier Pinson had a solid 10-point night off the bench for the Tigers, but nobody else could add more than a couple buckets.
Meanwhile, Butler got double-digit efforts from three of its starters. The Bulldogs only went two deep off the bench for the most part, but it was enough to stop the Tigers.
Jeremiah Tilmon and Mark Smith had off nights, going 1-for-8 combined. Tilmon had zero points in the game. The Tigers are going to need their second- and third-best players to step up in games like these. Mizzou basketball needs all the wins it can get as it tries to get back to the NCAA Tournament.
The Tigers still have a ways to go to get to where they want, especially on offense. They need to step up in toss-up games, and so far, Mizzou is 0-2. It has another chance to grab a win against a major school in less than 24 hours as it plays Oklahoma.
As for Monday, it had its ups and downs for the Tigers. The slow start put them in a 15-5 hole by the 15-minute mark. The Bulldogs extended their lead to 25-7 with 12 minutes to play in the first half.
The good news is that the Tigers got back into the game. They did so in the same manner they fell behind — by causing turnovers.
Mizzou got the game down to 10 points and went into halftime behind 38-26. The second half was pretty close. Mizzou basketball won the second half 26-25 and got the game to within eight points but never any closer.