Missouri men’s basketball doesn’t lose when it's the Rally For Rhyan game.
The Tigers faced Arkansas on Saturday afternoon in the fifth-annual event to raise money for pediatric cancer as they started the second half of their Southeastern Conference slate.
MU needed overtime to take down the Razorbacks, but they did so with a 83-79 result in front of a season-high crowd of 11,439 at Mizzou Arena.
Missouri led for a heavy majority of the game, but Arkansas closed the gap late in the second half to eventually force an extra five minutes.
The Tigers improve to 11-12 overall and 3-7 in SEC play with their second-straight home victory. Arkansas falls to 16-7 overall and 4-6 in conference action. Missouri also raised more than $80,000 for pediatric cancer on Saturday.
Xavier Pinson scored a game-and-career-high 24 points and was 12-for-13 from the free-throw line.
Fellow Tiger Javon Pickett added 14 points, while Dru Smith and Reed Nikko finished the game with 11 points apiece.
Former Hickman standout and Razorbacks guard Jimmy Whitt Jr. finished most likely his final competitive game in Columbia with 15 points and three rebounds. He played 40 of the game’s 45 minutes.
“He’s a stabilizer for us,” Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman said of Whitt. “He’s a really good defender, he can score for us, he’s just a unique player because he plays that point guard position but he scores so well around the rim and mid-range.”
Mason Jones and Reggie Chaney tied for the Razorbacks’ lead with 17 points each. Jones had scored 104 combined points in Arkansas’ last three games.
“Defense is pride,” Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin said of stopping the SEC’s leading scorer. “He’s a talented player. Anytime you score 30, 34 and 40 in a game, that’s pride ... I think it’s just what’s in you as an individual player, it doesn’t matter what the scouting report is. You don’t allow a guy to score the ball like that. More importantly on the floor, Javon did a good job of embracing that challenge.”
The teams combined for 59 fouls, and six players fouled out of the game.
Mark Smith was available to play for the Tigers, but never took the floor after full participation in pregame warmups. He had missed the last two games with lower-back discomfort.
Jeremiah Tilmon did not dress for the game after playing 12 minutes against Texas A&M on Tuesday. Tilmon had missed the previous seven games before the loss to the Aggies with a stress fracture in his left foot.
Martin said Tilmon is working through the same injury, and Mark Smith could have played if needed, but he didn’t feel his junior sharpshooter was at 100%.
The Tigers are now to 1-1 in overtime games this season. The only other game for MU to go past regulation was a loss to Xavier on Nov. 12.
Missouri returns to action on Tuesday with a road game against LSU. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on SEC Network.