Friday was a big night for the Missouri Tigers, with the regular-season opener against Iowa State also being the official debut for a talented freshman class led by forward Michael Porter Jr. Considered to be one of the top freshmen in college basketball, with Duke’s Marvin Bagley III and Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton also being in the conversation, Porter played just two minutes before having to leave the game.
Dealing with a hip issue entering Friday’s game, Porter tweaked his hip during pregame warmups. Head coach Cuonzo Martin would remove his prized freshman from the game two minutes in as a precautionary measure, with a Missouri spokesman saying at halftime that Porter was questionable to return to the game.
Porter would not return, and after the game Martin said that the only reason Porter started was that he was already in the score book as a starter. Removing him would have resulted in a technical foul. In the two minutes that he played Porter tallied two points, making his lone field goal attempt, and two rebounds.
With Porter out of the lineup, junior forward Kevin Puryear started the second half along with starters Kassius Robertson, Jordan Barnett, Cullen VanLeer and Jeremiah Tilmon. The 6-foot-7 Puryear, who was an SEC All-Freshman Team selection in 2016, averaged 11.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game last season, leading the Tigers in rebounding. Puryear accounted for 10 points and four rebounds in the first half.
While Porter Jr. had his night cut short, classmate Tilmon had a very good first half in his Mizzou debut. Tilmon, who was originally committed to Illinois before a coaching change took place there, accounted for six points and six rebounds in 12 minutes of action.
Porter’s younger brother Jontay played five minutes in the first half, making his lone shot attempt (a 3-pointer) and grabbing one rebound.