FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Jeremiah Tilmon scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for No. 12 Missouri, and the Tigers handed Arkansas its first loss of the season, 81-68 on Saturday.
Tilmon eclipsed his season high in points during the first half and finished with a career high. He was joined in double figures by Xavier Pinson with 23 and Mark Smith with 11.
Arkansas (9-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference), missing its best interior player, could not match Missouri’s physicality. The Tigers (7-1, 1-1) outrebounded Arkansas 51-36, outscored the Razorbacks 34-22 in the paint, and held them to 27% shooting from the field.
Missouri allowed Arkansas to stay close for most of the game as the Tigers committed 21 turnovers, though Arkansas managed to turn those into just 15 points. The Razorbacks went 4:53 without a field goal midway through the second half, finally giving Missouri enough edge to build its lead to double digits into the under-eight media timeout.
At the under-four timeout, Arkansas coach Eric Musselman picked up two technical fouls in quick succession and was ejected after arguing with the officials following more of the game’s physical play.
JD Notae and Moses Moody led Arkansas in scoring with 19 and 18 points, but needed a combined 33 field-goal attempts to reach those marks.
Razorbacks forward Justin Smith, who injured his ankle during Arkansas’ SEC opener at Auburn on Wednesday, will miss three to six weeks after surgery. He’s averaging 11.6 points and 7.1 rebounds this season. Guard Davonte Davis started in his place and finished with four points.
Missouri remains the surprise of the year in the SEC, leveling its record in league play after losing to No. 7 Tennessee on Wednesday. The Tigers were picked to finish 10th after a 15-16 record last year.
Arkansas, which finished with the same SEC record as Missouri last year, remains in excellent NCAA Tournament position and should stay on the cusp of the Top 25.
Missouri will play a second straight game on the road, Wednesday at Mississippi State.
Arkansas is in the midst of its toughest stretch of the year as the Razorbacks next travel to Knoxville on Wednesday to play No. 7 Tennessee.
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