ST. LOUIS – Mizzou Men’s Basketball beat Illinois in the Annual Braggin‘ Rights game, 79-63, snapping a five-game losing streak to the Illini at the Enterprise Center on Saturday Night. East St. Louis, Ill., native Jeremiah Tilmon was dominant all night long, pouring in 16 points and snaring 12 rebounds, registering his second straight double-double and his fourth in six games. Senior guard Jordan Geist was the leading scorer for the Tigers, collecting 20 points, 12 of which came off of three pointers (4-of-8 3FG). Illinois native Javon Pickett was also excellent in his Braggin‘ Rights debut, going for 16 points, a new career-high, while shooting a blistering 87.5 percent from the field. Pickett also had four rebounds and an assist.
Mizzou’s five-game win streak is its longest since Jan. 31-Feb. 13 of last season. The Tigers used their usual recipe of dominance on the glass and prowess from beyond the arc to extend their winning streak while taking back Braggin‘ Rights. Mizzou outrebounded the Illini 37-31 while making 11 three-pointers to Illinois’ eight.
Despite Mizzou leading for most of the second half, Illinois took a 56-55 lead with just 7:43 left to play. It was the first Illini lead since they led 32-30 with just over four minutes to go in the first half.
Mizzou responded to the Illini run with a dominant 17-2 run of its own in crunch time, taking a one point deficit and turning it into a 14 point advantage. The run started with a Tilmon dive to the hoop, which resulted in an old fashioned three-point play after he made the layup and converted the free throw. Freshman guard Xavier Pinson got in on the act at the rim, skying for a put-back to push the lead out to four. The run also saw a jumper and a deep ball from Pickett, a corner three from senior forward Kevin Puryear, and a nifty left handed floater in the lane from sophomore guard Mark Smith. Pickett capped the run with a cutting layup off a nice feed from Geist.
- Tilmon was excellent again for the Black & Gold, picking up his fourth double-double in six games with his 16 points and 12 rebounds.
- Geist reached the 20-point threshold for the third time this season against Illinois. It was his first such performance since the Tigers played Kansas State in the Paradise Jam Championship Game (11/19/18).
- Pickett was nearly flawless against Illinois, chipping in 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting. He has now scored 10+ points in three of his last five games.
- Pinson had a strong performance, scoring seven points while finishing with two highlight reel assists.
- Mizzou beat Illinois for the first time in the Braggin‘ Rights game since 2012, when the Tigers beat the Illini 82-73 (12/22/12).
- The Tigers hit 11 three-pointers, marking the fourth time this season the team has made 10+ in a game. All four of those performances have come in the last six games.
- The Tigers also had 16 assists, their most since they beat Stephen F. Austin at home last season (17, 12/19/17).
- Mizzou held Illinois to just 63 points. It is the 29th time the Tigers have held an opponent under 69 points in the Martin era, and the eighth time this season. Martin’s squad is now 8-0 in such games.
- With his eight points against Illinois, Puryear is now tied with Mizzou legend Norm Stewart on Mizzou’s all-time scoring list. Puryear has 1,113 career points.
- Puryear started his 100th career game, becoming just the 15th Tiger in program history to do so and the first since Kim English in 2012.
Mizzou will enjoy a week off over the holidays, playing next against Morehead State at Mizzou Arena on Saturday, Dec. 29. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m. CT.