University of Missouri

Smith leads Missouri past Northern Kentucky; Tigers next play at Xavier Tuesday night

Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin is seen on the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Northern Kentucky Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin is seen on the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Northern Kentucky Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) AP

Mark Smith scored 19 points to lead Missouri to a 71-56 victory over Northern Kentucky Friday.

Smith didn’t score in the Tigers’ season opener on Wednesday, but he established himself early against the Norse, scoring 15 points in the first half as Missouri (2-0) opened a 33-29 lead. The junior hit 4 of 7 from three-point range.

Guard Tyler Sharpe led Northern Kentucky (1-1) with 18 points, with Trevon Faulkner and Silas Adheke scoring 10 points each.

The Tigers broke open the game in the second half, jumping out to a quick 50-39 lead and keeping the Norse at bay.

Missouri got good production from its frontcourt. Center Jeremiah Tilmon had 13 points and Mitchell Smith and Kobe Brown each scored 10.

Missouri dominatied a team that returned four starters and went to the NCAA Tournament last season. The Norse struggled against Missouri’s stingy defense, shooting only 37 percent It didn’t help that one of the team’s top players, Jalen Tate, made just 1 of 4 shots and committed five turnovers.

Missouri plays at Xavier Tuesday. Xavier is also 2-0 after victories over Jacksonville and Siena.

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