COLUMBIA, Mo. — Namon Wright helped Missouri snap its school-record 13-game losing streak with a flourish Tuesday night, scoring a career-high 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting to lead the Tigers past Florida 64-52.
The freshman from Los Angeles carried the team nearly single-handedly in the opening minutes of each half, and his 6-of-8 performance from behind the 3-point line helped spark the loudest cheers in Mizzou Arena since the Tigers (8-20, 2-13 Southeastern) last won on Jan. 8.
Devin Robinson scored 14 points and Jon Horford added 10 for Florida (13-15, 6-9), which lost for the sixth time in seven games and prevented coach Billy Donovan from earning his 500th career win. He would have joined Bob Knight as the only coaches in Division I history to reach the milestone before their 50th birthday.
Missouri senior Keith Shamburger criticized the team’s effort after losing 76-53 at Vanderbilt on Saturday, saying slow starts are getting into the Tigers’ heads. Missouri missed six of its first seven shots in that game, but started 4 of 6 Tuesday.
Wright scored seven points in the first 4:27, providing a boost of energy that lasted through most of the opening half. The Tigers led for more than 13 of the game’s first 20 minutes, only to watch Florida take a 31-27 halftime lead after the Gators scored six of the final eight points.
Wright reignited after the break, pulling those in attendance to their feet by scoring Missouri’s first 10 points in the first 3:43 to gain a 37-35 advantage. The Gators answered with nine unanswered points before Missouri countered with 11 of the next 12 for a 48-45 lead.
No. 18 Arkansas 81, Texas A&M 75: In Fayetteville, Arkansas, Bobby Portis scored 22 points as Arkansas won its seventh straight game.
The win solidifies the Razorbacks (23-5, 12-3) hold on second place in the SEC heading into a showdown with No. 1 Kentucky on Saturday. It also gives Arkansas, which has won 10 of 11 games overall, 12 wins in SEC play for the first time since the 1994-95 season.
Anthlon Bell added 14 points and Alandise Harris and Ky Madden had 11 each for the Razorbacks, who led by as many as 25 points in the first half before holding off a second-half rally by the Aggies (19-8, 10-5).
Danuel House led Texas A&M with 28 points.
Alabama 59, South Carolina 51: In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Levi Randolph scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished five assists to lead Alabama.
Retin Obasohan scored 15 points and Rodney Cooper added 11 for the Crimson Tide (17-11, 7-8 SEC). Laimons Chatkevicius scored 18 points for South Carolina (13-14, 4-11).