Arkansas Associate Head Basketball Coach David Patrick watched as forward Justin Smith made up for lost time in the rematch, scoring 19 points to help Arkansas defeat the 10th-ranked Missouri 86-81 in overtime on Saturday.
Smith had ankle surgery the day before the teams' first meeting on January 2nd and could only watch as Arkansas lost that game. The grad transfer from Indiana is healthy now, and it showed. He shot 6 of 10 from the field, grabbed six rebounds, and dished three assists.
"He came back with vengeance this time," said teammate Moses Moody, who scored 16. "He had a different look in his eye."
On Saturday, it was Missouri missing a key player. Standout forward Jeremiah Tilmon missed the game because of a death in the family. Tilmon had 25 points and 11 rebounds in the teams' previous meeting, and without him, the Tigers leaned heavily on 3-pointers, making 13 of 32 from beyond the arc.
Xavier Pinson led the Tigers with 23 points, and Dru Smith added 15. Missouri erased a four-point deficit in the final minute of regulation. Parker Braun sent the game into overtime when he scored a reverse layup off a nice feed from Dru Smith to tie the game at 73 and then blocked Devonte Davis' shot on the other end.
Justin Smith opened overtime with a layup and then delivered a thunderous dunk on an alley-oop pass from Jalen Tate.
"Justin Smith, I think he was looking into the basket when he dunked it," said Missouri's Torrence Watson.
This was Justin Smith's fourth game since returning from his injury, and his production has increased with each. Arkansas coach Eric Musselman called it Smith's best game as a Razorback.