Johnathan Williams III laughed when asked what coach Kim Anderson told him at halftime Tuesday.
"He got on me a little bit," the Missouri forward said. "And I think I kind of needed that. . And I think I did do better in the second half. I want to say thanks to Coach Anderson for pushing me."
"You're welcome," Anderson responded.
Williams III scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Missouri past Southeast Missouri State 65-61 after trailing 30-24 at the break. The sophomore played with a brace on his right knee but otherwise showed no ill effects from soreness that limited him to just 7 minutes of playing time against Chaminade in the Maui Invitational.
The Tigers (4-3) took their first lead of the game with just 3:55 remaining on a 3-pointer by forward D'Angelo Allen. Keith Shamburger then hit his own 3-pointer with 17.2 seconds remaining to give Missouri a 63-58 advantage.
After the Redhawks' J.J. Thompson answered with a basket from long range, Tramaine Isabell converted two free throws with 7.7 seconds remaining to end the threat.
Jarekious Bradley scored 12 points and Thompson added 11 to lead Southeast Missouri State (3-4), which fell to 0-8 all-time against Missouri.
The Redhawks made their first four shots from the field and used a 9-0 run late in the opening half to take a 30-19 lead before Missouri scored the final five points heading into the break.
"We need that emotional leader, and right now we don't have that established," Anderson said. "We can't just wait around and just think we're going to turn it on. That's not going to happen."
Southeast Missouri State then held on for most of the second half before Allen's 3-pointer provided the Tigers with a 57-55 lead. Freshman Montaque Gill-Caesar set up the lead change with two 3-pointers of his own on the Tigers' previous two possessions.
Gill-Caesar, who entered the night leading Missouri with 13.7 points per game, scored 13 of his 15 points after the break. Shamburger finished with 11.
Missouri played without sophomore Wes Clark, who didn't join the Tigers on the bench. Anderson said, without elaborating, that the guard was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules. Clark started the team's first six games, averaging 9.2 points and a team-high 32 minutes per game.
Namon Wright started in Clark's place after scoring 21 points on 7-of-7 shooting against Chaminade. A freshman from Los Angeles, Wright scored four points.
While both teams shot about 50 percent from the field, they struggled from the free throw line, as Southeast Missouri State converted 5 of 14 attempts while Missouri finished 13 of 23. Williams went only 8 of 14.
"Bottom line, it's free throw shooting," Redhawks coach Dickey Nutt said. "We had our chances — and I don't take anything away from them — but it's hard to swallow that. But we'll move on."
Southeast Missouri State: The Redhawks fell to 1-19 against current members of the Southeastern Conference, with their only win coming at Arkansas during the 1924-25 season.
Missouri: In addition to Clark's absence, freshman Jakeenan Gant continued to sit out while the school reviews his eligibility.
Southeast Missouri State limited Alabama A&M on Saturday to 31.3 percent shooting (15 of 48) — including 1 of 12 from 3-point range — the second-lowest field goal percentage by an opponent in coach Dickey Nutt's six seasons with the Redhawks. Missouri shot 22 of 44 from the field, including 8 of 15 from long range.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"Sometimes we're a little too cool for school," Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. "I'll be honest with you. That's a habit we have to break."
Southeast Missouri State hosts Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday.
Missouri plays at Oklahoma on Friday.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.