ISU stumbles at Missouri
By JOE WALLJASPER
COLUMBIA, Mo. — The highly anticipated debut of Michael Porter Jr. was brief. The Missouri Tigers did just fine without him Friday night in a 74-59 victory over Iowa State in the season opener.
Porter, considered one of the top two recruits in the nation, played just two minutes and scored two points before taking a seat on the bench with an ice pack on his left hip. A team spokesman said he “tweaked” the hip and was held out for the rest of the game as a precaution.
Kevin Puryear led Missouri with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Jordan Barnett scored 15 points, Jeremiah Tilmon added 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. The Tigers shot 52.9 percent from the field.
Nick Weiler-Babb led the Cyclones with 14 points, and Zoran Talley Jr. added 11.
Mizzou Arena is sold out for the entire season and excitement about basketball is surging after three straight losing seasons marked by dwindling attendance. New coach Cuonzo Martin’s first major move after being hired in April was adding Michael Porter Sr. as an assistant. Porter Jr.’s commitment attracted other highly touted recruits, such as his younger brother Jontay Porter, Tilmon and Blake Harris.
Even without their star, the Tigers maintained a safe lead for most of the game. Missouri led 39-25 at halftime. Iowa State trimmed the deficit to nine early in the second half but couldn’t sustain the run.
Missouri: On Friday afternoon, a statue of former coach Norm Stewart was unveiled outside Mizzou Arena. Stewart, 82, attended the ceremony. Stewart coached the Tigers from 1967-99 and guided the team to eight Big Eight regular-season titles and 16 NCAA Tournament appearances. His career coaching record was 731-375.
Iowa State: After qualifying for the NCAA Tournament six straight years, the Cyclones are rebuilding with just one player — sophomore forward Solomon Young. ISU was picked ninth out of 10 teams in the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll.
Missouri will try to improve to 2-0 when Wagner visits Mizzou Arena on Monday.
Iowa State makes its home debut Monday against Milwaukee.