Missouri looks to strengthen its NCAA Tournament profile when it visits reeling Georgia in Southeastern Conference play on Saturday in Athens, Ga.
The Tigers (20-8, 8-7) ended a two-game slide with a dramatic 66-64 overtime win over visiting Mississippi State on Tuesday.
Georgia (16-12, 6-9) lost for the eighth time in its past 11 games when it was blown out 97-65 at Arkansas that day.
Missouri has undergone an impressive transformation under first-year coach Dennis Gates. The Tigers, who went 12-21 last season, including just 5-13 in league play, already have won their most games since going 16-10 in 2020-21, the last time they reached the NCAA Tournament.
“We got to 20 wins,” Missouri guard Nick Honor said. “I know that was a team goal for us.”
Gates’ 20 wins are tied for the second-most for a coach in his first year leading an SEC team, one behind Mike White, who went 21-15 with Florida during the 2015-16 season. White is now in his first season coaching Georgia, which has also improved significantly under his guidance.
The Bulldogs, who lost an SEC-record 26 games last year, have a chance to triple last season’s six wins with a strong finish to the regular season.
Missouri got a big win against Mississippi State when Honor hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds left after the visitors took a 64-63 lead on Dashawn Davis’ jumper with 20 seconds remaining.
Kobe Brown, who averages a team-high 16.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, had 17 points and six rebounds, while D’Moi Hodge, who averages 13.8 points per game, added 16 against Mississippi State. Noah Carter and Honor added 10 points apiece, with Tre Gomillion finishing with eight points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers.
The Bulldogs have been outscored 205-124 during their two-game slide, which includes a 108-59 thumping at then-No. 1 Alabama on Feb. 18.
Georgia was dominated from the opening tip by Arkansas, which jumped out to a 23-8 advantage with 9:57 left in the first half. The Razorbacks’ lead ballooned to 43-23 at halftime and grew to as large as 35 in the second half.
“It’s a really tough week for us,” White said. “I thought we played hard. We did a pretty good job in terms of attention to detail in the scouting report, the whole thing was trying to pack it in to give ourselves a chance. … I thought Arkansas played really, really well.”
Kario Oquendo, who averages 12.9 points per game, scored 20 points against Arkansas, while Jabri Abdur-Rahim, who averages 7.6 points per game, added 12. Justin Hill added 10 points and Braelen Bridges, who averages 8.3 points per game, finished with eight points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Terry Roberts, who averages a team-high 13.8 points per game, was held to four points on 2-for-9 shooting.
–Field Level Media