Missouri downs UT Arlington 65-45 behind Tilmon
The 6-foot-10 Tilmon took advantage of an undersized UTA frontcourt. The tallest players in the Mavericks’ starting lineup — Andres Ibarguen and Patrick Mwamba — are each 6-foot-5. The sophomore forward has been heating up, and has now scored double-digits in each of his last three contests.
Tilmon also shot 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. He shot just 52 percent from the charity stripe last year, but has upped that percentage to 80 percent this season.
“Last year, I took three dribbles and paused for four or five seconds,” Tilmon said. “Now, I just take two dribbles and go right into my rhythm.”
Missouri freshman Torrence Watson added a season-high 12 points. Watson made three of his six 3-point attempts. He entered the game shooting just 27.6 percent from beyond the arc.
“He’s been putting extra time in, I think that helps,” Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin said. “I think with any guy who shoots the ball, you like to see the ball go in, and it went in for him.”
The Tigers came into the contest shooting 38.2 percent from 3, tops in the Southeastern Conference. Missouri (5-3) shot 9-for-25 from 3-point range against the Mavericks, who entered the game holding opponents to just 27.2 percent from beyond the arc.
UTA (3-6) struggled all game to establish offensive flow. They turned the ball over 21 times and shot 39 percent from the field. Ibarguen led UTA with nine points.
“We’re struggling offensively right now,” Mavericks coach Chris Ogden said. “We did miss some more open shots tonight, but we were just way too careless with the ball once again — 21 turnovers is too many lost possessions for us.”
Missouri finished shooting 44 percent. The team’s leading scorer for the season — Jordan Geist — added nine points and team-leading three assists.
The Mavericks return just 3.2 percent of their points from last season, the least amount of production in college basketball. UTA’s nonconference schedule is also filled with power-conference opponents, including Indiana, Arkansas, Missouri, No. 1 Gonzaga and Texas.
UT Arlington: The Mavericks lost their top nine scorers from last year and continue to rebuild under first-year coach Chris Ogden. UTA has now lost five games in a row for the first time since 2013-14.
Missouri: After starting the season 3-3, the Tigers have won two in a row — with a chance to make it three on Friday — ahead of nonconference matchups with Xavier and Illinois.
Along with Watson’s solid night, Missouri freshman guard Javon Pickett scored 10 points. He shot 2-for-6 from distance. Missouri’s newcomers scored 34 of the team’s 65 points. Pickett said the team’s freshman class is feeling good.
“I feel like (the freshmen) are really confident,” Pickett said. “Our older guys keep telling us to shoot the ball, going to the basket, attacking.”
GIVING IT AWAY
Along with UTA’s 21 turnovers, the Mavericks also shot 4-for-11 from the free-throw line.
Martin said postgame that Missouri sophomore transfer K.J. Santos is cleared to play for the Tigers and will likely play Friday against Oral Roberts. Santos — a 6-foot-8 guard — averaged 7.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game as a freshman for Illinois-Chicago in 2016-17.
UT Arlington will stay on the road to play North Texas on Saturday.
Missouri faces Oral Roberts at home Friday.