Missouri’s abysmal second half the difference in 92-58 loss to Auburn
“These last few games we came out the second half lackadaisical, so those 3-balls really got us going,” Okeke said.
Auburn (14-6, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) used a dominant second half to end the slide that sent the team tumbling out of the Top 25 following a six-week run in the Top 10. This one was actually close for the first 20-plus minutes.
It ended with Auburn’s largest margin of victory over an SEC team at Auburn Arena, which opened for the 2010-11 season.
Auburn matched its season-high with 41 3-point attempts and made 16 to help pick apart the league’s No. 2 scoring defense, especially after halftime.
“We had 41 3-balls and we missed a bunch of them, but I don’t remember but two or three bad shots,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “They were good looks, so I was happy with the shots we got. But to beat the best teams on our schedule, we’ve got to make those shots.”
Okeke had a career-high 12 rebounds and Brown made four 3-pointers.
Missouri (10-9, 1-6) got 15 points from Jeremiah Tilmon and 11 apiece from Jordan Geist and freshman Xavier Pinson, who made his first start. Torrence Watson scored 10.
No. 2 scorer Mark Smith missed the game with an ankle injury.
Auburn’s offense snapped out of its funk for a 3-point flurry. Doughty and Brown hit their three 3s in a 1:15 span, to push the lead to double digits for the first time.
“They had two open 3s to start the second half to kind of change the course of the game,” Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said. “They made three of them, and they went from there.”
Okeke scored 11 points in the final 7:32 of the first half to stake Auburn to a 34-31 lead that only grew when the rest of the team heated up, too.
Auburn made seven 3s in the first seven minutes after the half to help turn the game into a rout.
It was the most 3s Auburn had made since hitting 18 in the opener against South Alabama.
Missouri: Has dropped three straight and six of its last seven games. Made just nine of 28 shots in the second half (32 percent).
Auburn: Heated up after a lackluster first half to snap its three-game skid. Had plenty of empty seats after Auburn’s fall from No. 7 to unranked.
Auburn center Austin Wiley (lower right leg) and Missouri’s Smith (ankle) both remained out with injuries. Wiley has sat out the past four games. Smith, who has missed two games in a row, leads the SEC in 3-point percentage.
“Kind of game-time (decision),” Martin said. “Just felt like he wasn’t ready to go.”
Danjel Purifoy had his best game since returning from an NCAA suspension that kept him out last season and the start of this one. He scored eight points and made two 3-pointers.
“I’m almost back to myself, but I’m getting there,” Purifoy said. Asked if he feels he’s done enough to be in the regular rotation he said simply, “Yes.”
Missouri hosts Vanderbilt Saturday night.
Auburn hosts in-state rival Alabama Saturday night.