The Missouri Tigers are not the best team in the SEC with or without Michael Porter Jr. They are however making strides under new head coach Cuonzo Martin, to bring stability back to a program that’s endured a lot over the past few seasons.
Missouri barely edged out a victory Wednesday night against #21 Tennessee and senior guard Kassius Robertson credited quality defense.
“Defensively, we locked them down and held them to 55 points. We struggled from three, but we made them struggle from three, too. So that was huge and that’s pretty much what won us the game down the stretch,” Robertson said.
Missouri is now 9-1 at home and 3-2 in conference play, losing to Florida and Arkansas by a combined four points.
In the absence of standout freshman Michael Porter Jr., Martin’s Tigers are finding consistency from other players on the floor.
Jordan Geist connected on key free throws late in the game, Jontay Porter has started to find his stroke from the arc, and Jordan Barnett is shooting 47 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc.
Junior forward Kevin Puryear said it’s nice to have success, but now the team needs to build on that success moving forward.
“We took a lot of bumps our freshman and sophomore years, so to see our hard work paying off, in addition to all the great players we have now, it is a great feeling. But now is not the time for us to stop. It’s time for us to carry this momentum into our future games and continue to play well,” Puryear said.
It doesn’t get any easier for Missouri as they play three of their next four games on the road. Auburn is undefeated at home and Alabama has only lost two games at home as well, so the Tigers will have their work cut out.
Missouri is next in action on Saturday at 3 p.m. as they take on Texas A&M.