Jordan Clarkson scored 25 points and Jabari Brown added 18 to lead Missouri to an 80-71 victory over West Virginia Thursday night in the Big 12/SEC Challenge at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo.
The Tigers (8-0) jumped out to an early double-digit lead and led by 25 with 9:43 remaining in the game before the cold-shooting Mountaineers finally got some shots to fall.
Despite its shooting woes, West Virginia (6-3) continued to play hard and worked to get the deficit down to seven, 76-69, with 31 seconds left.
Missouri shot 52.9 percent from the floor, with several of its baskets coming on straight-line drives to the rim and post-up moves by its three big guards. Senior Earnest Ross also scored 16, giving the Tigers 59 points from their backcourt.
West Virginia’s top scorer, Eron Harris
, who came into tonight’s game averaging 20.3 points per game, had a difficult time finding room to operate and finished with a season-low 8 points on 3 of 6 shooting.
led the Mountaineers with 16 points while handing out five assists, but he also committed a season-high five turnovers.
“We have too many guys playing out of character and doing things they can’t do instead of things that they can do,” said Huggins.
Freshman forward Devin Williams
had 10 points and six rebounds for the Mountaineers.
Tony Criswell pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for Missouri, which held a 40-32 advantage on the glass.
West Virginia, 4 of 19 from 3, also struggled from the free throw line by hitting just 13 of 21.
“We had a horrible practice yesterday, not bad, horrible, and we weren’t as prepared as we needed to be,” admitted Huggins.
Missouri extends its nation’s best home-court winning streak to 23 straight games and its non-conference home winning streak to 78 games dating back to 2006.
The Mountaineers will have the weekend off before facing 19th-ranked Gonzaga next Tuesday night at the WVU Coliseum. That game will also be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Notes: Mizzou held West Virginia scoreless in the first half until 14:48. That is the longest a Mizzou opponent has gone scoreless in a game this season ... Mizzou held West Virginia to a season-low single-half field goal percentage of 28 percent (8-29) in the first; entering the game, West Virginia's previous low was 35 percent (12-34) in a loss to Virginia Tech on Nov. 12