A strong second-half performance helped the Missouri Tigers avoid upset disaster at home from the Bradley Braves, with a 54-53 win in Columbia Tuesday night. The Tigers (6-0) and Braves (6-3) battled close and hard for 40 minutes, but the SEC squad kept the underdogs at bay behind strong performances by Xavier Pinson and Jeremiah Tilmon.
Things seemed to be rocking and rolling in Columbia the last few weeks for the Tigers on the hardwood. Upsets over #4 Illinois and #25 Oregon have skyrocketed the Tigers into the Top 15 early in the season. In what seems to be a down year for the Southeastern Conference, the Missouri Tigers have been a bright spot. Their strong strength of schedule and key wins against ranked opponents have them looking at a tournament run this March.
Missouri Tigers Avoid Upset
Enter the Bradley University Braves from Peoria, Illinois. The Missouri Valley Conference leader made their way into Columbia Tuesday night with an upset on their minds. This was not the first game that looked bleak for the home team this season. Just one month ago, the Braves gave #22 Xavier a scare as well, losing by one to a team that is likely tournament bound this March.
In the first half against Missouri, Bradley fought hard to keep the game within one possession after being down seven midway through the first half. Throughout the second half, it was their game to lose. With 5 minutes to go in the game, Bradley held a 5-point lead, and things seemed to be going their way. It was not enough, however, to put the Tigers away. A strong run by the Tigers gave way to a 1-point win.
For the Bradley Braves squad, they get a much needed Christmas break before returning to campus to play Loyola, IL on January 3rd.
Things do not get easier for the 6-0 Tigers, though, as they host #8 Tennessee in Columbia this coming Saturday at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
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