LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Blake Harris made the most of his first Missouri start and got postgame congratulations from the Tigers’ injured star.
The freshman guard had 11 points, nine assists and turned the ball over once, and Missouri routed Long Beach State 95-58 Thursday in the opening round of the Advocare Invitational.
Jordan Geist scored 16 points and freshman Jontay Porter had a season-best 15 for Missouri.
Missouri (4-1) played for the first time since announcing Tuesday that standout freshman Michael Porter Jr., the brother of Jontay Porter, will miss the rest of the season following lower back surgery. The expected recovery time is three to four months.
“He just texted me after the game (and) I told him I’m playing for him,” Harris said.
Michael Porter played just two minutes in the season opener against Iowa State.
“Now, that’s being addressed as a staff,” Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said. “There’s certain packages that you would have with Mike. You make some adjustments. Put guys in position.”
Jontay Porter had 10 points as the Tigers took a commanding 43-21 halftime lead. Missouri limited the 49ers to just 20.7 percent shooting (6 for 29) during the opening 20 minutes.
“I thought we did a good job of setting the tone early,” Martin said. “Defended, rebounded, playing hard, playing with passion. Fun to watch.”
Kassius Robertson added 13 points for the Tigers, who shot 52 percent from the field.
Long Beach State (2-3) was lead by Gabe Levin’s 12 points.
“It’s disappointing,” Long Beach State coach Dan Monson said. “You get an opportunity to get on a national stage and every area just didn’t play as good as we needed to.”
Long Beach State continues to struggle with turnovers, picking up 19. The 49ers had 76 over their first four games. “It’s plagued us,” Monson said. “We just get sped up. There’s too many travels and unforced turnovers.”
Geist called Harris’ performance “crazy” and “awesome.” ”Passing the ball, sharing and not being selfish, that’s what a point guard does,” Geist said.
Missouri: Jontay Porter, who has scored 11 points twice this season, made 6 of 9 shots and had five rebounds against the 49ers.
Long Beach State: The 49ers’ two previous losses came against teams in the Advocare Invitational — Oregon State (89-81) and No. 23 West Virginia (91-62).
Missouri plays in the semifinals against St. John’s on Friday.
Long Beach State moves to Friday’s consolation bracket to face Oregon State.
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