Missouri Tigers did some good things in Lexington, but they got careless at times as they lost to Kentucky to open up SEC play.
The Missouri Tigers played solid defense throughout Saturday’s game against the Kentucky Wildcats, but in the end, too many turnovers and too many fouls gave the victory to the home team. Mizzou lost 71-59 to drop to 8-5 on the season and 0-1 in the conference. Kentucky now is 10-3 and 1-0.
Mizzou held Kentucky to only nine points in the first 10 minutes of the game and built a 17-9 lead early on. But the Wildcats got their offense going, led by big man Nick Richards, who finished the game with 21 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. He played well on both sides of the ball, causing havoc throughout. The Tigers struggled to keep up with the intensity of the Wildcats toward the end of the half, but because of their early lead, the score was 31-26 at halftime.
After a close first five minutes of the second half, Kentucky broke the game loose. The Wildcats went on a big run to open up a double-digit lead, and stretched that lead out to 16 points late in the game. With the Tigers in foul trouble, it was tough for them to keep up. But that didn’t stop the Tigers, who competed with Kentucky until the end.
One of the biggest keys to Saturday’s game was Kentucky’s free-throw shooting.
The Wildcats shot 27 of 30 from the charity stripe, while the Tigers were 11 of 17. Mizzou’s defense could be tops in the SEC, but the offense needs to match the defensive efforts moving forward for the Tigers to win some of the tougher games in the conference.
Jeremiah Tilmon played plenty Saturday but did not start the game. Tilmon missed the game prior to Kentucky with a foot injury. He seemed healthy throughout the contest.
Dru Smith led the Tigers with 11 points, shooting 5-for-13. Immanuel Quickley led all scorers with 23 points off the bench for the Wildcats.
The loss breaks up a four-game win streak for Mizzou, which also defeated Illinois and Temple during that mini run. Hopefully the Tigers can get back on another run when they return from Kentucky.
Mizzou next moves on to play Tennessee on Tuesday at home. The Volunteers also were defeated Saturday to open up their conference slate, losing to LSU 78-64.