Chasing down his own miss, Missouri point guard Jordan Geist ended up in the corner of the court and eventually found Jontay Porter who hit a wide open three.
A few minutes later, Porter stuffed a shot for one of his four blocks for the day, which led to a dunk for Kassius Robertson.
Two days after Missouri announced star freshman Michael Porter Jr. would likely miss the remainder of the season due to back surgery, his younger brother led the Tigers to a 95-58 win over Long Beach State in the opening round of the Advocare Invitational.
Porter had his Thanksgiving feast on the court rather than the dining room table, finishing with 15 points and five rebounds on 66 percent shooting. He was one of five Tigers to reach double figures in scoring.
Missouri jumped out to a 25-9 lead to open the game powered by Porter and fellow freshman Blake Harris, who started at point guard. In his first career start, Harris gave Missouri energy and efficiency, something coach Cuonzo Martin thought the team had been lacking, and spaced the floor to find open shooters. He finished with 11 points and a team-high nine assists with only one turnover.
“I thought he did a good job,” Martin said of Harris. “You want to take care of the ball. Blake did a good job of directing traffic and being under control, even when he was attacking the rim.”
Harris helped kickstart the offense by finding a streaking Jordan Barnett for a wide open dunk. Missouri never looked back and took a 43-21 lead into halftime with some help from reserves Cullen VanLeer and Jordan Geist. Missouri had 48 points from its bench players on Thursday.
Porter was all over the floor for Missouri, blocking shots and hitting some of his own, whether it was from beyond the arc or through traffic.
“The way he passes, shoots it, stretches the floor, he’s so hard to guard,” Geist said. “He’s just like (Michael Porter Jr.). Can’t let him shoot the ball, can’t let him drive it, let him drive it he passes it.”
The 6-foot-11 freshman hit a three in the second half to increase Missouri’s lead to 56-27 with just over 15 minutes left. Porter got supporting help from Kassius Robertson, who finished with 13 points and fed the freshman throughout the game.
Geist had an efficient game for Missouri, chipping in 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists off the bench. Martin said after the game he thought Geist “wreaked havoc” on defense.
Missouri’s other freshman big man, Jeremiah Tilmon, mostly stayed out of fouled trouble for second straight game. Tilmon showed off his tremendous footwork and post moves for Missouri and was a constant threat inside. He shot a perfect 4 for 4 from the field and made the only free throw he attempted.
Harris found Tilmon under the basket late in the game for a two-handed dunk that served as the exclamation point for the Tigers win.
Senior forward Gabe Levin led Long Beach State with 12 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
With the win, Missouri advanced to the semifinals of the tournament and will play St. John’s on Friday at 10 a.m.