Missouri survives Division II Emporia State’s upset bid
Division II Emporia State had a shot to tie with 28 seconds left before Missouri held on for a 67-62 nonconference victory on Monday night in Columbia, Missouri.
Missouri (3-1) trailed by seven points midway through the second half before asserting itself. Freshman Jeremiah Tilmon and Kevin Puryear scored 13 points apiece for the Tigers, who shot just 10 percent (2-of-20) from 3-point range and 56 percent (19-of-34) at the line.
Brian Morton slashed his way for 21 points to lead Emporia State (2-3), which had one player foul out and six others finish with four fouls.
The Hornets had a chance to tie or take the lead trailing 64-62 in the final minute, but Grant Shell’s drive down the lane was snuffed with 28 seconds to go.
Heralded freshman Michael Porter Jr. sat out his third game in a row for Missouri with what has been reported as a leg injury. He has played just two minutes this season.
Despite his absence, Missouri broke out to leads of 7-0 and 19-11 before Emporia State decided it could hang with the Tigers.
Emporia State reeled off 12 points in a four-minute stretch — capped by Isaac McCullogh’s 3-pointer — to forge the first tie at 23 with 4:28 left. Stephaun Limuel followed with a dunk while being fouled to give the Hornets a 26-23 lead.
Missouri made just 1 of 13 3-pointers and 5 of 10 free throws in the first half to help Emporia State hang around.
Leading scorer Kassius Robertson (15.3 ppg) went scoreless as he missed all four of his first-half shots and finished with six points — all of free throws — as he went 0 of 9 from the field.
To make up for the Tigers’ errant outside shooting, Tilmon went to work inside. The five-star big man made his first six shots.
Emporia State built its lead to 39-32 in the second half before Missouri started to assert itself. Cullen VanLeer cashed a 3-pointer and Jontray Porter flew in to slam home freshman Blake Harris’ missed runner to make the Missouri crowd come alive and force Emporia State to take a timeout.
Emporia State picked up fouls rapidly in the second half and Missouri entered the double bonus with 11:18 to go. At that juncture, four Hornets had four fouls.
Tilmon’s dunk with 10:47 left gave Missouri its first lead of the second half and it never trailed again.