Missouri men’s basketball led nearly the entire game Tuesday night but couldn’t pull off an upset against the Tigers from Baton Rouge.
Hoping to win back-to-back games for the first time in Southeastern Conference play, Missouri men’s basketball traveled to face No. 25 LSU and led for nearly 33 minutes Tuesday night.
The visiting Tigers held the lead with under seven minutes remaining, but the good times didn’t last.
LSU outscored Missouri by 12 the rest of the way to deny MU a second straight victory. The Bayou Bengals defeated Mizzou 82-78 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge.
LSU only got two points off its bench, while all five starters scored in double figures. Skylar Mays led all players with 23 points, while Darius Days added 20 for the home Tigers.
Dru Smith led Missouri with 20 points and was one of four Tigers to reach double figures. Reed Nikko tied his career high with 13 points, while Mitchell Smith added 10 off the bench.
Missouri falls to 11-13 overall and 3-8 in the SEC, while LSU improves to 18-6 overall and stays tied for first place at 9-2 in league play.
"One of the things they do well — one of the better teams in all of college basketball — is driving the ball," Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin said of LSU. "And you know they’re talented because we played them before, but they’re big and they’re physical."
For the first time this season, Missouri lost while Javon Pickett reached double figures in scoring. He had 10 points. Missouri got 23 points from players off the bench.
Freshman Tray Jackson again impressed as a reserve with nine points. He led Missouri in plus-minus at plus-six.
"I'm so happy for him because he was at a low point from the standpoint of not playing," Martin said of Jackson. "But he stayed in the gym, continued to work, didn't complain, didn't make excuses. Now you see the results because he’s a talented player. There's no question about that. ... Now you’re starting to see results. In the last two games, he played in critical situations and key games for us."
Missouri outshot LSU from the field (51% to 47%) and from 3-point range (43% to 25%). However, LSU was 29-for-34 from the free-throw line, while Missouri was 7 of 13. The visiting Tigers were called for 10 more fouls than the Bayou Bengals (25 to 15).
Missouri returns to action on Saturday against Auburn at home. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. and Red Panda is slated to perform at halftime.