COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri needed a spark Saturday against Lipscomb.
Looking lethargic early, the Tigers found one in Keanau Post. The former junior college All-American scored seven points and grabbed 10 rebounds to help Missouri defeat the Bisons 72-60 on Saturday.
"I didn’t play him the last two games because I didn’t think he had been playing well enough," coach Kim Anderson said. "And he never said a word. He never changed his expression."
Post entered the game averaging a team-low two points in his second season with Missouri (6-7) after transferring from Southwestern Illinois College. The 6-foot-11 senior said he needs to approach every game like he did Saturday’s.
"I think being out and then coming back, you’ve got to slow things down for yourself," he said. "You can’t really rush yourself. I think I did a good job of that today, just taking it step by step."
Johnathan Williams III led Missouri in scoring with 16 points and had 10 rebounds, and Keith Shamburger added 15 points.
Freshman Nathan Moran tied a career high with 17 points while Josh Williams added 11 points and seven rebounds for Lipscomb (5-9). The Bisons fell to 0-4 against major-conference opponents this season after losses at Vanderbilt, Colorado and Texas.
Missouri needed to fall behind before showing any sense of urgency, trading baskets with the Bisons early before watching them score 13 consecutive points for a 30-19 lead with six minutes left in the first half.
"Yeah, I thought we were going to pull it out," Lipscomb coach Casey Alexander said.
The Tigers responded with 14 of the final 19 points in the half, though, shaving their deficit to 35-33 at the break. Lipscomb stretched its lead to 48-38 five minutes into the second half before Missouri used a 16-1 run to retake the lead.
The Tigers finally established some breathing room, ending the game on a 13-2 run after leading 59-58 with 5:23 remaining.
"We’ve played some teams really well and hadn’t gotten over the hump," Anderson said. "So today I was happy that we were able to finally get back and get a lead in the game."
Spurred on by former Tigers Laurence Bowers and Kim English in attendance, Missouri shot 47.1 percent (24 of 51) from the field en route to its first win since defeating Elon 78-73 on Dec. 11.
Lipscomb, on the other hand, shot 19 of 59 (32.2 percent) overall and scored just two points in the final 5:23. The team played most of the game without senior Malcolm Smith, who scored seven points in the first seven minutes before walking with trainers to the locker room.
Alexander said Smith both injured his elbow and incurred a gash to his tongue that made breathing difficult.
"Malcolm’s probably the toughest kid we’ve got," Alexander said. "So if anybody could have played, he would have."
Martin Smith, Malcolm’s twin brother, also sat out after injuring his foot against Austin Peay on Dec. 21. Both players lead the team in games played with 97.
Lipscomb: Josh Williams, a sophomore, now leads the team with 14.4 points per game, 75 rebounds and 19 steals this season.
Missouri: Junior guard and Baylor transfer Deuce Bello missed his second consecutive game while suspended for "academic reasons," coach Kim Anderson said after Tuesday’s loss to Oklahoma State. . Johnathan Williams III has led the Tigers in scoring for seven consecutive games, averaging 17.1 points during that stretch.
CAREER HIGH FOR ISABELL
With Montaque Gill-Caesar nursing a sore back and Bello suspended, Missouri freshman Tramaine Isabell scored 14 points. The 6-foot guard from Seattle averages 4.9 points per game.
Lipscomb hosts Division III opponent Rhodes College on Monday before opening Atlantic Sun play at home against Northern Kentucky on Jan. 10.
Missouri opens Southeastern Conference play on Thursday at home against LSU.