Missouri gets first true road win of the season in 62-59 victory over UCF

The Tigers won a true road game for the first time since Jan. 28, 2014 — 1,402 days ago.

Jeremiah TIlmon rises to the basket against Iowa State on Nov. 10, 2017.

At times during Thursday night’s game between the Missouri Tigers and the University of Central Florida Knights, it looked as if the Tigers were destined to repeat the collapse they suffered against West Virginia on Sunday night.

Thankfully for the Tigers, and the blood pressure of Missouri’s faithful, that wasn’t in the cards.

Missouri gritted its way to its first true road win since Jan. 28, 2014, on Thursday night, holding off the Knights down the stretch to earn a 62-59 victory in Orlando, Florida.

The Tigers were led offensively by graduate transfer Kassius Robertson and senior Jordan Barnett, who had 19 and 17 points, respectively. Robertson went 5 for 7 from the 3-point line, while Barnett hit two key free throws in the last 20 seconds of the game to seal Missouri’s victory.

Robertson showed the maturity and poise he said he was lacking in Sunday’s loss to West Virginia in the Advocare Invitational championship.

“It’s hard to [win close games]; it’s not anything easy at all,” Robertson said during a media event on Tuesday. “I definitely took that West Virginia loss pretty hard because I thought I should have done more as a senior experience-wise, in terms of those late-game situations, because you can’t prepare for that at all.”

While Barnett and Robertson both had key offensive contributions, no one had a bigger game than Jeremiah Tilmon. The freshman big man had quite the challenge on the defensive end, matching up with Tacko Fall, UCF’s 7-foot-6, 295-pound junior big man who happens to be the tallest player in Division I basketball.

At times, Tilmon seemed a little overwhelmed against Fall, but he was able to keep UCF’s impact player at bay for most of the night and limit him to just seven shots. Tilmon also used his quickness and agility to tire out Fall, forcing him into foul trouble and out of the game and opening up Missouri’s interior game offensively.

Tilmon was no slouch on the offensive end, either. He had 14 points and seven rebounds, including a team-high four offensive rebounds. Missouri was outrebounded as a team on the night but had 17 second-chance points to UCF’s 15, giving the Tigers just enough of an edge to win the game.

Next up for Missouri is a Tuesday night matchup against Miami (Ohio). The game is set to tip off at 8 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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