The Missouri Tigers have Braggin’ Rights after holding off 6th ranked Illinois 81-78 on Saturday night in front of a limited number of fans at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers improve to 5-0 and beat another ranked team after beating #20 Oregon earlier this season.
“How many teams in America can say they beat two ranked teams?” Cuonzo Martin said after winning their third straight in the series.
Mizzou led 49-41 at halftime and led by 13 with nine minutes left before Illinois rallied to tie the game, but the Tigers closed out the game. Dru Smith had 17 points and Javon Pickett added 14 points. Mark Smith, who played his freshman year at Illinois before transferring to Missouri and Jeremiah Tilmon, who initially committed to the Illini out of high school, both fouled out and combined for just nine points on 1-of-8 shooting.
The Tigers will play two more non-conference games (12/18 at home vs. Prairie View A& M, 12/22 at home vs. Bradley) before beginning SEC play on 12/30 against Tennessee.