ATHENS, Georgia (AP) Losing a big lead in the second half made Missouri’s third consecutive loss even more painful.
Toumani Camara scored 15 points, including a great three-point play, and Georgia rallied to beat No. 20 Missouri 80-70 on Tuesday night.
Missouri (13-6, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) blew a 48-35 lead after a dominant start to the second half.
“You put yourself in a position to win on the road, you have to find a way to win,” said coach Cuonzo Martin.
Camara said it was important that the Bulldogs, on their own two-game losing streak, play hungrier than the Tigers.
“I thought … the most desperate team would probably win the game,” Camara said.
Missouri dropped 10 spots in the Top 25 this week.
Kobe Brown led the Tigers with 21 points, his career high. Mark Smith and Xavier Pinson had 11 each.
Missouri forward Parker Braun said the Tigers “stopped being aggressive” after building the big lead in the second half.
“We have to stay locked in for a full 40 minutes and be ready to play down the stretch,” Braun said.
Tigers center Jeremiah Tilmon missed his second straight game while out of the team after the death of a family member.
Justin Kier led Georgia (13-8, 6-8) with 16 points.
Camara’s three-point play with 4:55 to play broke a 62 tie, pitching an 18-8 run to end the game.
Missouri led 37-33 at halftime despite making just 3 of 15 triples. The Tigers were 6 of 26 for the game. The modest first-half 3-point total included a long jump shot by Dru Smith with 31 seconds left at the half.
Georgia opened the second half with turnovers on its first three possessions, paving the way for Missouri to nine unanswered points. A triple by Mark Smith capped the run.
The Bulldogs were held in check without a field goal for nearly six minutes after the break before Andrew Garcia’s shot ended the drought.
Jaxon Etter helped Georgia reduce the deficit. Etter scored on a layup, hit two free throws after his steal and had a defensive rebound to set up a Garcia basket, cutting the Tigers’ lead to 50-45. Etter added a triple from the corner, leaving Missouri’s lead by two points.
Georgia finally tied at 53 on the steal and layup from KD Johnson for their first points of the game. PJ Horne’s 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs their first half lead at 57-55. Kier added another 3 lengths to extend the lead to five points.
Missouri: The Tigers outscored Georgia 21-12 in points on turnovers. Missouri was unable to seize the opportunity to end its first losing streak of the season after falling to No. 37 in the NCAA NET rankings used to choose the NCAA tournament field.
Georgia: Garcia had 13 points. Sahvir Wheeler added 12 points. Johnson scored each of his 10 points in the second half, including six on free throws. … The Bulldogs rallied after back-to-back losses to the top 25 teams Tennessee and Alabama.
Brown’s previous season record was 14 points at Wichita State on December 6, 2020. His previous career-high scoring game was 17 against Arkansas last season.
The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Brown took advantage of his size advantage against Georgia’s smaller front line.
“It felt good,” Brown said. “I just wanted to win, honestly. It wasn’t even me who noticed the mismatch first. … (Martin) pointed it out and I followed him. ”
Tilmon averages 12.8 points and ranks fourth in the SEC with 7.8 rebounds per game.
Martin said he has spoken with the junior. “I guess he’s doing as well as he can now when you lose a loved one,” Martin said. “We hope you come back soon.”
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Missouri: Visit South Carolina on Saturday.
Georgia: Visit Florida on Saturday.
More AP College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/College-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.