MEN’S BASKETBALL: ISU men outshot by Missouri, 65–56

J.T. Tiller stopped worrying about a broken nose in the opening minute, quickly discarding a protective face guard so he could see better.

The senior guard ended up with a season-best 17 points and three assists in Missouri’s 65-56 victory over Iowa State on Wednesday night.“If I’d have gotten hit you’d have seen me crying,” Tiller said. “It’s all risk in the game, you know what I mean, so you’ve just got to play without fear and just play your game.”

Laurence Bowers added 10 points and a career-best 12 rebounds, and Justin Safford had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Tigers (18-6, 6-3 Big 12), who are three games above .500 in conference play for the first time this season.

Craig Brackins had 12 points and 14 rebounds, his ninth double-double of the season, for Iowa State (13-11, 2-7).“They were aggressive with the double teams early,” coach Greg McDermott said. “We expected that, so we were able to move [Brackins} around and slash him in there, and he beat the double team a couple times and hit a couple tough shots.”

Missouri survived 4-for-20 shooting from 3-point range in its first game back in the Mizzou Arena since its 32-game homecourt winning streak was ended by Texas A&M a week earlier.

Missouri overcame off-games from starters Kim English, who battled foul trouble and was held to nine points, and senior Zaire Taylor, who went scoreless in consecutive games for the first time in his career. The Tigers also committed as many turnovers (14) as they forced.

Taylor played despite intestinal issues that forced an impromptu visit to the locker room in the first half.

“When I was out in the first half I kind of felt I was letting them down,” English said. “But they stuck with it. I was on the bench smiling, actually thinking ‘That’s the J.T. I was waiting for.’”

Marquis Gilstrap had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Cyclones, who cut the gap to one point five times in the second half before fading to their sixth loss in seven games.

Iowa State was just 2 for 14 from 3-point range and shot 33 percent overall. The Cyclones’ already thin roster was battling season illnesses and was minus top backup LaRon Dendy, who was attending his great grandmother’s funeral.

Iowa State is 13 for 64 (20 percent) from 3-point range the last four games.

“Marquis isn’t feeling well at all. Craig was coughing and hacking, but that’s going to happen and you just have to play through it,” McDermott said. “We’ve played two of our better games on the defensive end the last two games, and we just have to continue to work hard and get better.”

Brackins’ dunk cut the deficit to 54-53 with 4:40 to go and the Cyclones didn’t score again until Gilstrap hit a 3-pointer with seven seconds to go. Missouri pulled away with 11 straight points, five from English.

Iowa State missed its first seven shots and shot only 31 percent in the first half, but trailed 28-23 because Missouri had its own issues.

English, who has a team-leading 15-point average, picked up two quick fouls in the opening two minutes and watched the rest of the half from the bench.

Missouri leaned on its reserves, outscoring Iowa State 20-0.