LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Jordan Barnett had 19 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, Kassius Robertson added 17 points, and Missouri beat St. John’s 90-82 in the semifinals of the Advocare Invitational on Friday.
Missouri (5-1) has won consecutive games since announcing that starting guard Michael Porter Jr. will miss the remainder of the season with back surgery.
The Tigers led by as many as 16 points in the first half but St. John’s rallied to take a 58-50 lead with 12:20 left in the game. Then Missouri hit 10 of its final 12 shots from the floor and went on an 11-2 run to take the lead for good.
“(St. John’s) showed a lot of resiliency and toughness,” Tigers coach Cuonzo Martin said. “Marcus LoVett, the way he puts pressure on the ball, that is impressive. (Shamorie) Ponds the way he scores in so many ways…very talented team; great test for us.”
Ponds had a career-high 31 points for the Red Storm (5-1), who were attempting to start the season 6-0 for the first time since 2009-10.
“I thought we got off to a bad start,” Red Storm coach Chris Mullin said. “(But we) didn’t let it affect our attitudes. We got back in it before the end of the half … but they came out on the winning end.”
The Tigers shot 52 percent (14-of-27) on 3-pointers, held a 41-27 rebounding advantage and led for 27:42 of the game.
“We managed to weather the storm,” Barnett said. “We never stopped fighting. We continued to believe … I think that really helped us get the win.”
Missouri guard Terrence Phillips left the court with 9:36 remaining after LoVett landed on top of him when both men went after a loose ball. Martin, however, said Phillips was fine.
Guard Blake Harris, who had 11 points and nine assist for Missouri in Thursday’s 95-58 win against Long Beach State, only played eight minutes was seen using a massage device on his left knee but Martin said he was available to return.
STILL GOT IT
During a timeout, Mullin picked up a ball near his bench and effortless dribbled it twice between his legs before giving it back to the official.
TAKE A SEAT
St. John’s forward Marvin Clark II was whistled for a technical foul in the first half after arguing with one of the officials about a foul. Clark scored just three points and fouled out after 12 minutes.
Missouri: Jontay Porter was 4 of 7 from 3-point range and scored 16 points in 27 minutes off the bench before fouling out.
St. John’s: Ponds has scored 20 or more points in four games this season. He is averaging 28.5 in the tournament.
Missouri: The Tigers advanced to the championship game Sunday night.
St. John’s: The Red Storm will play in the third-place game Sunday afternoon.
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