Missouri was able to outlast Iowa State with a double-digit win on Friday night despite Tigers star freshman Michael Porter Jr. only playing two minutes of the contest.
The Tigers put together an impressive 74-59 home win over the Cyclones as Porter was limited thanks to a left leg injury that he suffered during warmups.
“He was in the scorer’s book ready to go and he said, ‘Coach my leg isn’t feeling right.’ That was pretty much it,” Martin said to NBC Sports’ Travis Hines. “I haven’t talked to the doctors or trainers. He was in the book so that’s why he was on the floor. If we didn’t have him in the book, I wouldn’t have him on the floor. His safety, his health is most important. It wouldn’t matter who we played. That’s all I have right now.”
“He said, ‘Coach my leg.’ He didn’t tell me anything specific.”
Even with the potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft barely playing, the Tigers took it to Iowa State in front of a rowdy home crowd as Missouri looked very impressive. The Tigers shot 44 percent from three-point range as they were 10-for-23 from beyond the arc — numbers that Missouri will hope to sustain once Porter returns to the lineup.
“We’re a good basketball team. Mike’s a good player. We’re a good basketball team, but we’re trying to be a good program,” Martin said.
Forward Kevin Puryear paced Missouri with 17 points and eight rebounds while freshman big man Jeremiah Tilmon, another highly-touted newcomer, made a strong impression with 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting while adding seven rebounds. Senior Jordan Barnett also added 15 points while Kassius Robertson chipped in 11.
While Iowa State isn’t expected to be a major factor in the Big 12 this season, this is still a very good win for Missouri without its best player. The Tigers looked like they had plenty of perimeter shooting, which should give Porter more space to operate in isolation situations.
With Tilmon also looking like a solid contributor on the interior, Missouri could be a potential NCAA tournament team if Porter plays as well as he’s capable of.
The Tigers play on Monday at home against Wagner and their next test will come in a road game on Thursday at Utah as Porter’s health will be something to monitor during the week.