COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Kassius Robertson scored 23 points with a steal in the closing seconds, Jordan Barnett had 22 points and Missouri hung on to defeat Stephen F. Austin 82-81 on Tuesday night for its fifth-straight win.
It was Robertson who missed two free throw with 13.5 seconds to play before his hustle led to a turnover with 2.7 seconds left.
Aaron Augustin hit a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left to pull the Lumberjacks with 81-78 and after Johntay Porter made 1 of 2 from the line with 24 to go, Kevon Harris hit another three at 18 seconds to make it a one-point game.
Missouri (10-2) started out efficient, making 10 of its first 11 shots, six of them 3-pointers, including the last four. But SFA stayed close, making 9 of 18, and only trailed 28-21 after Barnett’s 3-pointer at the 9:23 mark.
The Tigers finished the first half making 8 of 12 3-pointers and 14 of 21 overall — plus 12 of 13 free throws. Still, they only led 48-40.
The Lumberjacks scored eight straight points, the last four by Shannon Bogues and turned that into a 18-6 run, closing to 66-65 on a free throws by Ty Holyfield with 5:56 to play. Leon Gilmore III made 1 of 2 free throws to tie the game at 70.
Robertson led Missouri with 23 points, 15 of those points from 3-pointers. Jordan Barnett followed with 22 points.
Kevon Harris scored 19 points and Holyfield added 18 to lead Stephen F. Austin (10-2), which was coming off an 83-82 win at LSU on Saturday.
Stephen F. Austin: The Lumberjacks stifling defense sets up well for a conference title run, and maybe a tournament appearance. They forced 21 Missouri turnovers with the team that is second in the nation in steals getting 11.
Missouri: The Tigers continue to show they can compete without their star freshman, Michael Porter Jr., who is out with a back injury. Tuesday’s game was no doubt a test for Missouri, and being able to learn from and overcome the Lumberjacks’ stifling defense will help the Tigers later down the road.
Stephen F. Austin heads back home to face Arlington Baptist in its last non-conference game on Thursday.
Missouri travels to St. Louis to face Illinois on Saturday. It’ll be the Tigers last non-conference game before beginning SEC play at South Carolina on Jan. 3.