Wright scores 14 to lead Tigers past Arkansas State 88-78
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri coach Kim Anderson said Monday he wanted to see more production from guard Namon Wright.
After shooting 5 of 18 over the course of a three-game losing streak, including 1 of 11 from 3-point range, Wright answered his coach’s call in an 88-78 win over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Wright scored 14 points, including nine in the second half, helping Missouri snap its losing streak, which included losses to Xavier, Kansas State and Northwestern.
"It felt good to at least hit a 3 or two 3s and just get yourself going," Wright said. "As players, you just need to see it go in once or twice to get more comfortable."
Wright said he has been staying after practice shooting only 3-pointers.
"I just have to come in here by myself or with a manager and just shoot," Wright said. "Only 3s. Three hundred makes every night. That just gets a little rhythm going. That’s what helped me."
"I have confidence in him," Anderson said of Wright. "He’s spent his time working extra, shooting extra, so he’s got a little bit of freedom as long as it’s a good shot."
Arkansas State’s Devin Carter led all scorers with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Carter entered the game averaging 15.5 points per game.
Tramaine Isabell scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting and K.J. Walton added 10 points and five rebounds as Missouri got 38 points from its bench.
The Tigers opened the game with a 13-0 run, holding Arkansas State scoreless for the first 6:06 of the first half. Christian Davis put the Red Wolves on the board with a baseline jump shot, his only points of the game.
Missouri big men Ryan Rosburg and Kevin Puryear each scored 10 points, shooting a combined 9 of 16 from the field. Puryear added seven rebounds and Rosburg had two.
Missouri guard Wes Clark thought the Tigers’ post presence was a key factor in the game.
"We need those guys," said Clark, who scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds. "We’re not the biggest team, so for them to step up and be big and play with some bigger guys … it gives (opponents) a challenge."
The Tigers (3-3) outscored the Red Wolves (2-5) 44-26 in the paint and won the rebound margin 43-39.
Arkansas State guards Donte Thomas and Sean Gardner combined for 26 second-half points and helped spur a run that cut a 25-point deficit to four with 4:54 to play. Thomas finished with 18 points and seven rebounds and Gardner had 17 points and four rebounds.
Clutch free-throw shooting helped the Tigers stifle any comeback attempt, as Missouri made 9 of 9 in the final five minutes.
Wright scored six of his nine second-half points in a 15-second sequence following the Red Wolves’ big run. He was fouled on a made 3-pointer and completed the four-point play before a steal by Terrence Phillips set up a breakaway layup. Phillips finished with eight points and seven assists.
Arkansas State: This game completes a three-game road trip for the Red Wolves, who lost 94-72 to No. 21 Baylor last Friday and 91-68 to No. 15 Oregon last Wednesday. … An Arkansas State player has scored 20 or more points in five consecutive games. … Forward Anthony Livingston is averaging 9.8 rebounds per game, and is on pace to become the 24th player in Division-I history with at least career 500 rebounds by the end of the season.
Missouri: Freshmen have accounted nearly half of Missouri’s scoring this season. Phillips, Puryear, Walton and Cullen VanLeer have combined to score 205 of the Tigers’ 414 points (49.5 percent). … The Tigers are now 8-1 all-time against members of the Sun Belt Conference, with their only loss coming in 1974 against South Alabama, 74-64.
Arkansas State hosts North Dakota State Saturday.
Missouri hosts Northern Illinois Friday.