Missouri earns 1st SEC road win of season at Vanderbilt
NASHVILLE - The Missouri Tigers were away from Columbia Wednesday night as they faced the Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville to keep their hopes of a first round bye in the SEC tournament alive.
The Tigers entered the game without a road win in SEC play this season against a last place Vanderbilt team that is trying to get some momentum going into March.
Missouri took the lead to start the game, but Vanderbilt had its largest lead of the game at 27-18 with 4:00 left in the 1st half from a 13-2 run as Scotty Pippen Jr. had 15 in the first half for the Commodores.
The Tigers ended the half on a 9-1 run to bring the game back to a one point difference at halftime with the Commodores leading 28-27 and the Tigers had another run in the 2nd half to take the lead for good as Missouri beat Vanderbilt 61-52.
The game was special for Missouri fans as it saw the return of both Mark Smith and Jeremiah Tilmon to floor although they played limited minutes as they are both coming back from injuries.
The Tigers shot 42%, 22-52, on the hardwood with 24%, 4-17, behind the arc compared to Vanderbilt with 36%, 16-45, on the floor with 19%, 4-21, from 3-point territory, but free throws were the difference as the Commodores were 55%, 16-29, from the stripe and Missouri was 87%, 13-15 from the line.
Xavier Pinson had a team-high for the Missouri Tigers with 17 points in 21 minutes of playing time and senior Reed Nikko had a career-high 14 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting on the court and 4-4 from the free throw line.
Scotty Pippen Jr. had a game-high 19 points for the Commodores and Saben Lee contributed with his 14 points as well.
Missouri improves to 14-14 overall on the season (6-9 in SEC play) and will host the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.