SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — David Collette scored 17 and Utah beat Missouri 77-59 in a choppy ballgame in which neither team played particularly well on the offensive end.
The Utes (3-0) got their best win of the season after victories over a pair of SWAC teams to begin the campaign.
Utah led from start to finish, including 35-19 at halftime after a horrendous offensive performance by the Tigers (2-1). The home team played strong defensively, mixing in some zone, taking away the paint and contesting everything. Missouri started the game 2 for 17 and didn’t hit its first 3-pointer until 2:06 remained in the half. Mizzou shot just 20.0 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes and was 1 for 13 from behind the arc.
The 59 points were a season low.
A pair of back-to-back triples from Justin Bibbins and Gabe Bealer gave the Utes a 23-point lead early in the second half and the Tigers never got closer than 18 afterward, and that was on the final basket. Freshman Donnie Tillman added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Mizzou was without star freshman Michael Porter, Jr., who suffered a leg injury in the first game of the season. The preseason All-American was one of the top recruits coming out of high school and is expected to be a high NBA draft pick in June.
Kassius Robertson led Missouri with 12 points.
Missouri: The Tigers are just three games into the Cuonzo Martin era and in the infancy of becoming the type of program the new coach wants. They played well defensively, but it was overshadowed by the horrific offensive performance in the first half.
Utah: Things weren’t necessarily pretty for the Utes, but a win over an SEC program is a nice early victory for a team replacing four of their top six scorers from last season. Utah is still finding its identity, but remains undefeated while doing so.
Twenty-two scouts were originally scheduled to be in the building, in large part, to watch Porter. At least four dropped out and some members of the media did the same. Porter did not travel and has missed the last two games after being injured two minutes into the season opener.
The Tigers’ 10 first-half turnovers didn’t help the cause as they were already struggling to put the ball in the basket. Mizzou finished with 14 turnovers compared to Utah’s six.
Missouri: Hosts Emporia State on Monday.
Utah: Travels to play Ole Miss in the MGM Resorts Main Event tournament in Las Vegas on Monday.