L.G. Patterson/Associated Press
Xavier Pinson and Dru Smith each scored 17 points as the unranked Missouri Tigers upset No. 6 Illinois 81-78 on Saturday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu scored 36 points on 13-of-20 shooting to lead all scorers, and big man Kofi Cockburn added 19 points for the visitors.
Illinois entered the game off an 83-68 road win over No. 10 Duke on Tuesday, but its defensive effort did not fare as well against Missouri, which shot 47.2 percent from the field. Missouri also out-rebounded Illinois 35-26.
The Tigers led by as many as 13 points, but Illinois fought back and tied the game at 76 after a Dosunmu jumper with 3:21 left.
Mitchell Smith put Missouri back up 78-76 off two free throws, but neither team scored again until Pinson knocked down a two-pointer with 54 seconds left.
Cockburn responded with a dunk to cut Missouri’s lead in half, but he was called for a flagrant foul upon an official’s review after appearing to inadvertently hit Smith in the face before receiving a pass leading to the slam. Referees did not call a foul live.
The explanation given to Illinois head coach Brad Underwood was as follows, per Kedric Price of Rivals:
Missouri guard Mark Smith hit one of two free throws in response, and the Tigers retained possession. However, Kobe Brown’s missed three-pointer with 12 seconds left gave Illinois a chance at the tie.
Dosunmu three-pointer was off the mark in response, though. Brown missed two free throws on the other end with a couple of seconds left, but Illinois didn’t have enough time to get a shot off.
Missouri improved to 5-0, and Illinois fell to 4-2.