MPJ: Michael Porter Jr. to return in SEC tournament

A minute later, he nabbed his first rebound, and after running the length of the court, got his first points on an layup. With plenty of time to set up the offense, Porter Jr. launched a deep three that would have brought the house down-but it didn't fall.

Fast forward almost one whole calendar year and the talented wing for the Missouri Tigers has barely played. Michael Porter doesn't have to play; he wants to play.

And sure, it's hard to take much from an exhibition game. In the meantime, Georgia turned a 12-3 deficit into a 20-15 lead and took every bit of air out of the Scotttrade Center.

The exact opposite happened on Thursday, as Missouri shot 34 percent from the floor and both Tilmon and Puryear fouled out.

After missing all but the opening three minutes of Mizzou's first game on November 10, Porter told Tigers coach Cuonzo Martin at Tuesday's practice he was ready to make his much-anticipated return. "Unless the trainer or Mike says otherwise, he's playing". "It's really how I feel, the flow of the game, and how he feels". After a strong Missouri stand, Porter missed a three. and then after Rayshaun Hammonds made one of two at the line, Missouri called timeout.

When only five of those 17 go through the hoop, that's not ideal.

Against these three teams in the regular season though, Missouri had a mix of success.

They've improved despite Michael Porter's extended absence, so much so that they are hopeful of the program's first NCAA Tournament berth since 2013.

"I think we'll be fine", Martin said. "Something we can learn from is that the game's not over until the buzzer goes off". "(Now we have) things we can look at in practice to put them in position to be successful". Georgia promptly responded with a quick 8-0 run to extend its lead back to eight.

There was no such half in the rematch, as an angry Kentucky team blew Missouri apart, 87-66. The shot bounced off the rim and fell out as the partisan crowd gasped.

For now, this was simply a trial run gone wrong.

Mizzou (20-11) is the third-most improved team in the country, record-wise. He had four rebounds and one assist in 12 minutes of action.

Freshman forward Jontay Porter was selected to the SEC All-Freshman Team, and also tabbed as Co-Sixth Man of the Year, by the league's coaches. That says it all.

"Yes, he's prepared to play", Martin answered when asked if Porter will play in the second-round game in St. Louis.

Porter's brother, Jontay, has turned himself into a potential first-round prospect with a versatile offensive game off the bench. "They understand that there are not a lot of chances left, no matter how far you go".

Martin leads Mizzou into the postseason with seven available scholarship players and eight total. The presser is slated to begin at 7 p.m. ET.

  • Zachary Reyes