Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin is the first one to acknowledge his Tigers are still a work in progress. But he is also the first one to point out that he likes what he sees.
"We've got a long way to go," said Martin after the Tigers dominated the final 90 seconds to defeat Mississippi 75-69 Tuesday. "We are not a great team, but I am so proud of how we are growing up and how we are making plays down the stretch."
Kassius Robertson scored 27 points, including five 3-pointers, as the Tigers outscored the Rebels 8-2 in the final 90 seconds. Robertson made a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left to seal it.
"He (Robertson) was big. Our team understands who he is and they work hard to give him opportunities," Martin said. "The margin of error for us is so thin. We did the right things down the stretch and we're happy to get this win. We're working to get better."
Jontay Porter had 18 points and 13 rebounds as Tigers (16-8, 6-5) won their third consecutive game. Kevin Puryear and Jordan Geist added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Terence Davis scored 20 points for Ole Miss (11-13, 4-7) but was scoreless in the final 15 minutes. Bruce Stevens scored 15 points with seven rebounds and Markel Crawford scored 11.
"Robertson is the difference in the game," Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said. "He's playing like an all-league player and made the big plays tonight."
The Tigers shot 24 of 53 (45 percent) from the field and 10 of 23 (43 percent) from 3-point range. Missouri was 17 of 20 (85 percent) from the free throw line, including 14 of 17 (82 percent) in the second half.
Ole Miss was 26 of 65 (40 percent) from the field, but managed only 5 of 17 (29 percent) from the 3-point range. The Rebels were 12 of 15 (80 percent) from the free throw line and had only four turnovers, but missed three field goal attempts in the final minute.
Missouri: The Tigers have won three straight and have two road wins in the SEC. They made all the key plays down the stretch; Porter had a pair of blocked shots as Missouri came up with three consecutive defensive stops to gain control in the final three minutes. Missouri survived a series of runs by Ole Miss, which scored the first 11 points.
Porter, a 6-11 freshman, followed up consecutive 13-point games against Kentucky and Alabama with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in 13 minutes in the first half. The eventual double-double performance included 5 blocked shots.
"It's not so much his points, but it's the other things that make the difference," Martin said. "It's the blocked shots, being in the right position, making the right pass. When he does those things he is effective."
Missouri The Tigers host Mississippi State on Saturday.