COLUMBIA, Mo. — What was supposed to be an easy tuneup against a Division II opponent turned out to be a stern test for Missouri.
The Tigers edged Emporia State 67-62 on Monday in a game in which they shot 10 percent from 3-point range and 56 percent from the foul line.
Jeremiah Tilmon and Kevin Puryear each scored 13 points, and Jontay Porter added 11 points and 11 rebounds for Missouri (3-1).
Brian Morton led Emporia State (2-3) with 21 points, including 15 in the second half as the Hornets refused to go away.
The game was tied at 28 at halftime, at which point Missouri had made just 1 of 13 3-point attempts. The second half started much the same way, as Missouri continued to attempt and miss 3-pointers. Emporia State led 39-32 five minutes into the second half when Malik Hluchoweckyj beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer.
A Blake Harris no-look pass to Tilmon for a dunk gave Missouri the lead back at 43-41 midway through the second half. When Harris found Porter inside again two minutes later, the Tigers led 50-45.
The Hornets never led again, but they did cut the deficit to two points with 1:32 left when Grant Shell hit a 3-pointer in transition. Danny Hodge again cut the margin to two with a 3-pointer with less than a minute left. Emporia State had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead, but Jontay Porter blocked a Shell finger-roll layup attempt in the lane, and the Tigers hung on.
Missouri: MU released a statement Monday saying Michael Porter Jr. was seeing a specialist and would not attend the game. Porter, considered one of the nation’s top two recruits, has played only the first two minutes of the season opener. MU initially described his injury as a tweaked hip but has since only called it a leg injury.
Emporia State: Hornets coach Shaun Vandiver was making his first appearance at Mizzou Arena, but as a center for Colorado from 1988-91 he played against the Tigers next door at the Hearnes Center. Vandiver averaged 17.3 points and 11 rebounds against Missouri in seven career games.
Missouri will face Long Beach State in the first round of the Advocare Invitational on Thanksgiving in Orlando, Fla.
Emporia State will play Northwestern Oklahoma at home on Wednesday.