COLUMBIA, Missouri (Ticker) -- Sacramento State provided little challenge to Arthur Johnson and No. 15 Missouri.
Johnson scored a career-high 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Tigers routed the Hornets, 98-60.
Sacramento State scored the first five points but Missouri took the lead for good, 17-16, on the first of three free throws by Rickey Paulding 7 1/2 minutes into the contest.
The Tigers (3-0) extended their advantage to 50-40 at the half and quickly pulled away from the Hornets (1-3), whom they had never faced.
"We came in at halftime and the players talked amongst ourselves and said, 'We're going to try to keep them under 60,' because they shot 50-some percent (51.6) in the first half," Johnson said.
Paulding and Ricky Clemons contributed 17 points apiece and freshman Jimmy McKinney a season-high 11 for the Tigers, who shot 52 percent (34-of-66) and limited the Hornets to 40 percent (24-of-60).
The Tigers allowed just 20 points in the second half - the lowest total they had surrendered in the final 20 minutes in the last two seasons.
"We defended again tonight," Tigers coach Quin Snyder said. "We played a good team. They made a lot of plays in the first half and I was proud of our guys for not getting frustrated.
"You play hard and a team's making plays, you can get out of character. We were a little bit more poised offensively in the second half."
Tony Champion paced Sacramento State with 16 points. He was the Hornets' only player to reach double figures.
"This is going to help my team grow up," Sacramento State coach Jerome Jenkins said. "I left five of my studs at home due to academcis and discipline problems. This is going to help this team grow up and prepare for the Big Sky Conference."
Missouri won the rebounding battle, 47-32, and made 22 free throws - 17 more than Sacramento State.
"They're beatable," Champion said. "I really think if we had more opportunities to get to the free-throw line ... we could have been right there."