Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Geist, Puryear Carry Mizzou to Win over Beavers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Geist, Puryear Carry Mizzou to Win over Beavers

Article excerpt

With its best performance of the young season, Missouri advanced to the championship game of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands with Sunday's 69-63 victory over Oregon State. The Tigers (3-1) only trailed once against the previously unbeaten Beavers from the Pac-12 Conference.

Seniors Jordan Geist and Kevin Puryear carried Mizzou on the offensive end. Geist, playing with a sore back that's kept him out of practice this week, finished with a game-high 21 points and didn't commit any turnovers. Puryear, playing on his 22nd birthday, added 17 points and eight rebounds.

Mizzou will meet No. 12 Kansas State (4-0) in Monday's championship game, set for 7:30 p.m. St. Louis time.

"I thought the guys did a really good job of coming out and setting a tone. They competed, played hard. That's the blueprint for us," Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said on his postgame radio interview. "Whether your shot is falling or not, if you put forth a great effort you give yourself a chance to win the game."

Martin improved to 7-1 all-time against Oregon State. That's the most wins he's ever totaled against one opponent.

Mizzou pulled off the win despite getting little production from center Jeremiah Tilmon and Mark Smith, both on the bench for long stretches with foul trouble. Tilmon fouled out in the final minutes with six points and two rebounds. Smith, who entered Sunday at Mizzou's top scorer, finished with six points before fouling out.

With 7:10 left, Mizzou began to pull away on Puryear 3-pointer that put the Tigers ahead 57-48. The lead grew to 13 before the Beavers chipped away in the final minute.

The Tigers clinched the win at the free throw line, where they shot 22 of 28, led by Geist, who was 12 of 15 from the line.

"It's been impressive to see how Geist has played due to not being able to practice because of his back," Martin said. …

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