Missouri Tigers keep pace for a better spot in the SEC standings with win
The Missouri Tigers basketball team is coming on strong lately, and they continued with a road victory Wednesday night.
Mizzou defeated Vanderbilt 61-52 for its first SEC road win of the season. With the win, the Tigers improved to a .500 record on the season at 14-14, and move to 6-9 in the conference. That is good for a tie with Arkansas for the 11th spot in the standings, one spot shy of a bye to start the SEC tournament in March. Vanderbilt now is 9-19 (1-14 SEC).
The good news is the Tigers have three games left to jump ahead of that No. 11 spot and avoid the first-round games that week. With the win, and with losses by Ole Miss and Georgia, the bottom three teams are all but sealed. That leaves one spot open as to which teams will have to make it out of the first day.
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In a rare Wednesday game for the Tigers this season, Mizzou made the most of its opportunity against the bottom team in the SEC. The Commodores took a 28-27 lead into halftime, but the Tigers won the second half by 10 points to take the victory. Guard Xavier Pinson scored 15 of his 17 points in the second frame, while big man Reed Nikko poured in a career-high 14 points to help the Tigers.
Vanderbilt led by as many a nine in the first half after Scottie Pippen Jr. nailed a jumper at the 4-minute mark of the stanza to make is 27-18. Mizzou got its own nine-point lead from that point, taking a 42-33 advantage after a Nikko and-one with 13:30 left in the game. During that 10-and-a-half minute run, Mizzou outscored Vanderbilt 24-6 to swap the advantages.
Javon Pickett and Mitchell Smith led the Tigers with double-digit rebounds. Pickett and 10 while Smith added 12 in a reserve role.
Next up for Mizzou is a home game against Mississippi State on Saturday.