COLUMBIA, Mo. - Jimmy Whitt's return to his hometown was the perfect remedy to his recent struggles.
Coming off his first scoreless game as Arkansas, the freshman scored a career-high 15 points and helped lead the Razorbacks to a 94-61 win over Missouri.
"It's a great feeling to come back here and get a win first and foremost, what we wanted to come in here and do," Whitt said. "But for me to contribute to the team like I did, I feel like it's a big confidence booster for me going into further games."
It didn't take long for Whitt to get on the scoreboard, as he made jump shots on back-to-back possessions within two minutes of coming off the bench.
The shots were a part of Arkansas' hot start that put the Tigers away early. The Razorbacks (9-7, 3-1 SEC) made 14 of their first 17 shots while building a 32-16 lead.
Playing in front of about 20 family members, some of whom came from as far away as St. Louis, Whitt said Arkansas coach Mike Anderson told him not to push it too hard.
"He told me to be patient, it's going to come," Whitt said. "So every day in practice he's pushing me and telling me to be patient, be patient, it'll come. It won't happen overnight, but for it to happen tonight when I came home is pretty special."
Arkansas' lead got to as many as 17 points before Missouri (8-8, 1-2 SEC) closed the half on a 11-6 run. The Tigers continued to cut into that lead after halftime, getting as close as 51-44 a little over three minutes into the half.
However, a 20-2 run put Missouri away for good and gave Arkansas its first win away from Fayetteville of the season. The Razorbacks had been 0-6 in such games coming into Columbia, Missouri.
"That's probably one of the better games we've played on the road with any of our teams," Anderson said. "I thought from start to finish our guys were really focused and locked in on defense."
Despite hitting some cold stretches, Arkansas ended the game shooting a season-high 62.7 percent from the floor. On the other end, Missouri missed its first seven shots and made just 38.8 percent for the game. Nearly one-third of the Tigers' points came from the free throw line.
"I thought our defense was a big factor tonight, and we made shots as well," Anderson said. "When you put that combination together, we're a pretty dangerous team. I thought tonight was one of those nights where it all came together."
Moses Kingsley had his sixth 20-point game of the season, leading the Razorbacks with 24 points, and didn't miss a shot from the floor, going 8 of 8. He also had five rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two rebounds.
"He was definitely a presense in there," Missouri forward Kevin Puryear said of Kingsley. "He's a good player and we just didn't do a good enough job containing him inside. When we head to Bud Walton, we definitely need to pay more attention to that and make him more of a focal point."
Missouri coach Kim Anderson said he thought Kingsley wasn't the biggest key to Arkansas' success, as the Tigers focused heavily on defending the three-point line.
While Arkansas shot well from deep - making 8 of 15 threes - it didn't not enjoy the success it did against Mississippi State, when the Razorbacks made 16.
Instead, they increased production inside. Arkansas had 38 points in the paint against the Tigers, compared to only 14 against the Bulldogs.
"If I had to look back at this and say, 'What would I do over?' We probably put too much emphasis on the three-point shot, because they did a great job of penetrating," Anderson said.
Three other Razorbacks finished in double figures: Dusty Hannahs (20 points), Anton Beard (14) and Anthlon Bell (12).
Missouri had only one player with more than 10 points, as Terrence Phillips scored 16.
Arkansas returns to action Saturday at LSU. The game is scheduled to tip at 7:30 p.m. and air on the SEC Network.
-The Razorbacks are 3-1 in SEC play for the first time since 1998. It is only the fifth time Arkansas has started SEC play with that record, with the other years being 1992, 1993 and 1994.
-Arkansas football commit Hayden Johnson said in a text message that he was at the game "decked out in Arkansas gear, so I'm ready to get criticized." Johnson is a three-star fullback from Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge High School.
-Whitt is the first Arkansas basketball player to play an SEC road game in his hometown since Columbia, South Carolina, native Nick Davis played the Gamecocks on Feb. 18, 1997, according to HogStats.com.
-The 33-point loss by the Tigers is their worst ever in Mizzou Arena, which is in its 12th season as Missouri's home arena.