(COLUMBIA, Mo.) — The Central Missouri Mules put up quite a fight in their exhibition opener against the Missouri Tigers, but came up short in their upset bid falling 92-79 on Friday night at Mizzou Arena.
The Mules led by as many as eight points in the first half and eight in the second half, but a big second-half run propelled the Tigers to the win.
The Tigers (2-0 exhibition) jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, but a quick 7-0 gave the Mules (0-1 exhibition) their first lead of the game. Jon Gilliam hit a three to get UCM on the board followed by buckets from Ryan Donald and Ryan Magdziarz to put Central Missouri in front.
The teams battled back and forth through the first 10 minutes of the game with neither team leading by more than three. Missouri regained the lead 25-23 on a trey from Jabari Brown and pushed the lead to four at the 7:39 mark of the first half on a pair of free throws. Following a layup by Magdziarz, Jordan Clarkson scored a traditional three-point play to give the Tigers a five-point advantage.
The Mules responded with a 14-2 run to grab a 39-32 lead with 4:17 remaining in the half. Daylen Robinson started the run with a three-pointer to pull UCM within two and Kyle Wolf finished it off with another trey. A layup from Brennen Hughes gave the Mules their biggest lead of the night at 43-35 with 2:50 to play in the half, but the Tigers closed the stanza on an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 45-43 at halftime.
A quick 4-0 run out of the break gave Missouri a two-point lead, but the Mules came right back. Magdziarz tied the game on a reverse layup and a three-point play by Donald gave UCM a 50-47 lead.
Central Missouri was still in the lead at 56-55 with 14:05 to play. Magdziarz hit one of two free throws to extend the lead to two and a TJ White layup made it 59-55. White hit another layup and the lead was six. Following a pair of Missouri free throws, White scored four more quick points and the Mules matched their largest lead at 65-57 with 9:59 to play in the game.
The Tigers responded with an 8-0 in a little over a minute to tie the game at 65-all. The game was tied again at 67-67 when Donald flushed one home to give UCM a 69-67 lead. Brown hit a three to give MU a 70-69 lead and a layup by Johnathan Williams made it 72-69. Gilliam drilled a three-pointer to tie the game, but a layup by Clarkson sparked an 11-0 run to give the Tigers an 83-72 lead they would never relinquish.
A three by Wolf cut the lead to 83-75 with 2:45 to play in the game, but Missouri closed the game on a 9-4 run to claim the 92-79 win.
The Mules shot 47 percent in the game, 33 of 70. UCM was 7 of 27 from behind the three point line for 26 percent. Central Missouri was just 6 of 13 from the foul line for 46 percent compared to 33 of 45 for 73 percent for the Tigers.
Magdziarz led UCM with 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting. White was a perfect 6 of 6 from the field for 13 points and Wolf added 11. Robinson scored seven points and dished out 14 assists. The Mules had 19 assists and just four turnovers as a team.
Earnest Ross led three Tigers in double figures with 25 points, including seven three-pointers. Clarkson had 24 points and Brown chipped in 19. Williams had eight points and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Tigers out-rebounded the Mules 48-30 and held a 19-9 lead in second chance points. The Mules held a 44-34 lead in points in the paint and the UCM bench outscored MU’s bench 42-16.
The Mules return to action on Monday night when they play their final exhibition game of the season at Austin Peay. Tip-off at the Dunn Center in Clarksville, Tenn. is set for 7 p.m. The game can be heard live on the 44,000-watt 98.5 The Bar, 1450 KOKO and warrensburgradio.com with UCM Athletic Hall of Famer Bill Turnage on the call.