The Missouri Tigers beat the Eastern Illinois Panthers 68-56 on Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena, without their starting point guard. Jason Horton sat on the bench in the entire game for reasons Quin Snyder didn’t specifically disclose.
Thomas Gardner led the Tigers in scoring with 20 points, 16 of which came in the second half. He was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Sophomore Marshall Brown recorded his first career double-double with 19 points and eleven rebounds. Jimmy McKinney, who was the starting point guard in Horton’s absence, scored 11 points with two assists.
The Tigers got into an early hole, as Eastern Illinois jumped out to an early 7-0 lead. Mizzou took its first lead with 11:51 to go in the first half, courtesy of a dunk by Thomas Gardner to make it 12-11. Missouri led 29-22 at the half. The Tigers slowly increased their advantage in the second half, leading by as many as 19. Gardner hit two free throws with 3:38 to go to give Missouri a 64-45 lead.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 5-4 on the season, while the Panthers fell to 1-8. MU takes on Oakland (Mich.) on Friday night.