Mark Smith made five 3-pointers and scored 19 points as Missouri defeated Central Arkansas 68-53 in the season opener for both teams Tuesday night in Columbia, Mo.
Smith, a transfer from Illinois, was 5-for-7 on 3-point attempts while his teammates were just 3-for-18. Jeremiah Tilmon added 14 points for the Tigers, who are coming off a 20-win season in which they were one of the most improved teams in the country. They won their opener for the fourth consecutive season and the 12th time in 13 seasons.
Eddy Kayouloud came off the Central Arkansas bench to score 19 points, making 4 of 8 3-point tries. DeAndre Jones scored 12 for the Bears, who are coming off an 18-win season, their best total since joining the NCAA Division I in 2006-07.
Central Arkansas returns 10 players from that team, but that group does not include record-setting guard Jordan Howard, four-year starter Mathieu Kamba and another senior from last season, Ethan Lee.
Smith made two 3-pointers at the start of the second half as the Tigers increased their 30-20 halftime lead to 40-23.
The Bears cut into the deficit as Tanner Schmit’s two 3-pointers helped them climb within 42-31.
Kayouloud made two layups as Central Arkansas crept within 46-39.
However, Missouri got inside for three consecutive layups during an 11-1 run that gave the Tigers a 57-40 lead with eight minutes remaining.
The Bears could not get the deficit to fewer than 10 points after that. They wound up shooting a higher rate on 3-point tries (37 percent) than they did on field-goal attempts overall (31 percent).
The Tigers got off to a blistering start from the outside. Smith made three 3-pointers as they opened an early 18-5 lead.
The Bears started chipping away, and Jones’ 3-pointer pulled them within 20-16.
Tilmon scored on a layup and Torrence Watson his a 3-pointer to start a 10-4 run that pushed Missouri’s advantage to 30-20 at halftime.
—Field Level Media