Clark leads Missouri past Savannah State 81-50
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) Throughout most of Missouri's 81-50 win over Savannah State on Saturday, Wes Clark couldn't miss.
Clark had a career-high 22 points, helping Missouri wrap up its nonconference schedule with a victory and improve to 7-1 at home. He finished 9 of 10 shooting and had 12 points in the first half on a perfect 5 of 5 from the field. His previous career-high was 21 points in a 68-63 loss to Illinois Dec. 23.
''My shot is falling,'' Clark said. ''I'm still taking the same shots. I will keep the same aggression and do whatever it takes for our team to win.''
After a slow start to the season, Clark has scored 54 points over the course of Missouri's last three games.
''It's certainly a big boost for us,'' Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. ''He's got a great mid-range game and so he can take it to the basket, but he can also pull up and shoot the short jumper. Not everybody has that.''
Missouri (7-6) took a 41-25 lead after a lopsided first half, in which it shot 75 percent from the field while Savannah State (4-7) shot only 25 percent. Missouri made 13 of 14 shots over the course of a 13-minute sequence in the first half.
Clark picked up right where he left off, making consecutive shots to open the second half, sparking a 12-0 run. Clark capped day with a breakaway dunk, igniting the crowd at Mizzou Arena.
Clark said he's been focusing on being more efficient than in previous seasons.
''A lot more (efficient),'' Clark said. ''Just having the confidence and putting the reps in ... it's just starting to pay off. I'm just happy with that.''
Namon Wright had nine points and six rebounds in the second half, finishing with 11 points and a team-best eight rebounds.
Wright said the way Clark is playing right now gives the whole team confidence.
''He's got it going,'' Wright said. ''It takes pressure off the rest of the team. It gives confidence to the rest of us to score and be aggressive offensively and defensively.''
K.J. Walton added 10 points in his second consecutive start for Missouri, shooting 3 of 6 from the field, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range.
Missouri outscored Savannah State 42-22 in the paint and enjoyed a 40-30 rebounding advantage. Big men Kevin Puryear, Ryan Rosburg and Russell Woods shot a combined 7 of 11 from the field.
Savannah State's leading scorer Christopher Martin was held to four points on 1-of-12 shooting. Martin was averaging 13.2 points, having reached double-digit points in nine of 10 games this season.
Savannah State's Isaiah Felder was 3 of 4 from 3-point range for a team-best nine points. Felder and Teslim Idris combined for three consecutive made 3-pointers in the first half after Savannah State missed its first seven attempts.
Savannah State averaged 16.4 turnovers per game entering this game and committed 18, resulting in 25 Missouri points.
Savannah State: Forward Steven Hagan joined the team at the conclusion of football season, doubling as a wide receiver for the Tigers. ... Savannah State's last game was 17 days ago, a 99-53 loss at Utah Dec. 16. ... Savannah State is now 0-6 on the road.
Missouri: Jakeenan Gant has blocked a shot in seven of Missouri's last eight games, including one against Savannah State and a career-high four against Arkansas-PineBluff. ... Guard Namon Wright is Missouri's leading rebounder, averaging 4.8 per game.
Savannah State visits Florida A&M Tuesday.
Missouri open Southeastern Conference play Wednesday at Georgia.