Shane Palma-23Sports

The Missouri Tigers defeated the Northern Kentucky Norse 71-56 Friday night in Columbia. After a commanding win over Incarnate Word on Wednesday, the Tigers proved this team has changed from their early season struggles in 2018-19. After playing Central Arkansas close in their first matchup of 2018, and then losing to Iowa State, Mizzou was off to a mediocre 1-1 start. However, with two resounding victories to begin the 2019-20, Missouri believes their new style of play under third year coach Cuonzo Martin will be more effective.

Leading the team with 31 minutes on the night, junior guard Mark Smith had 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting with six rebounds, leading the team in both categories. Mark also went 4-for-7 for the three-point line, with Mitchell Smith being the only other Tiger to hit a three pointer (he went 2-for-2). Forward Jeremiah Tilmon also had an exceptional night to build off his Wednesday performance, amassing 13 points, five rebounds, and two blocks. Teammates have raved about Tilmon’s improvements for this season, and his hard work is certainly paying off. The junior has shown his shot blocking ability and work near the rim is up there with the best in the SEC.

As for the rest of the team, the Tigers played consistent basketball for both halves, scoring 36 in the first and 35 in the second. Northern Kentucky did not stand a chance against this Missouri unit, as the Tigers were always just one step ahead.

Next up on the schedule for Mizzou will be their toughest test to date, a road matchup with the 19th ranked Xavier team. If the Tigers truly want to make some early season noise, it will come in this “prove it” game versus the Musketeers.