Jordan Clarkson scored a career-high 31 points and Jabari Brown added 17 as Missouri got past Southern Illinois 72-59 Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena, after what started out as a sloppy night.
Clarkson, Brown and Earnest Ross combined for 59 points The rest of the team, shot 5 of 11 for 13 points. Desmar Jackson led Southern Illinois (0-1) with 17 points in the team’s season opener.
The San Antonio native hit his previous career high of 23 points and nine field goals made as a sophomore at Tulsa. Clarkson scored the majority of his points by dominating the Salukis in the paint and is the first Tiger to score 30 or more points since in 2011. Clarkson went 12-of-18 while the rest of the team went 12-of-35 as he was instrumental in the win.
Clarkson was able to get into the lane against a smaller SIU lineup.
“Coach Fuller just tells us to attack the paint. So, I think we did a good job of that tonight and having a deadly shooter (Jabari Brown) coming off the drives tonight, they have to pick either one. It is kind of fire and ice. So, you are either going to let us knock down the layup or let Jabari [Brown] hit the three. I feel like we did a good job exploiting that and took advantage of it.”
What the Tigers are lacking is inside scoring. Ryan Rosburg, Torren Jones, and Keanau Post went a combined 1 for 3. As Southern’s coach Barry Hinson pointed out, “They (Mizzou) have guards that are 6’5…we were playing a center at 6’4.” Despite that size advantage, the Tigers were still reluctant to get the ball inside to their big guys. Interim coach Tim Fuller agrees.
“I think some guys are scorers and other guys have different roles. I don’t know if Ryan is (a scorer) yet. He’ll get his buckets from drop-off dunks or drop-stepping in the paint. We don’t have a post player that we’re going to ask to score 20 and 10. We’re asking that effort from all three guys, rather than just one guy.”
With the lack of inside scoring how will that affect the Tigers down the road?