With plenty of NBA scouts in attendance to watch Michael Porter Jr. it was Jontay Porter that gave the scouts a show. Although it wasn’t the cleanest of games for Missouri. The Tigers went into halftime trailing by two.
The Tigers picked up their performance in the second half, outscoring the Commodores by 10.
Vanderbilt’s zone defense made things difficult in the first half for the Tigers, but Missouri made the adjustment by getting the ball inside to Porter. The 6’11 freshman finished with 24 points on 9-10 shooting.
Coach Cuonzo Martin said postgame he enjoys facing a zone defense.
“We like our chances when teams play zone — you flash and get in the middle. We’ve spent a lot of time in that area since the A&M game because we had opportunities like that and didn’t capitalize. Jontay did a great job of making adjustments, reading it and shooting the ball in rhythm.”
The freshman bounced back from his shooting slump against Kentucky where he shot a mediocre 1-8 from the field.
Porter said it was refreshing to have a better showing than his game against Kentucky.
“That was pretty refreshing because I haven’t been shooting the ball very well lately. The pick and pop, first half, was really open and then they went to zone. That’s when I felt like I really had the chance to exploit that, like go in the middle kicking it or shooting it,” Porter said.
The win for the Tigers improves their NCAA tournament resume and restored confidence in the team after they’ve struggled in their last three.
Michael Porter Jr. was cleared to return to basketball activity but did not play. Martin said they’ll play it by ear.
“He’s looking a lot better. Who knows? We’ll see,” Martin said.
Missouri takes on the Arkansas Razorbacks at home on March 3rd.
Connor Snelson covers the Missouri Tigers and you can find him on Twitter @Connor_Snelson