COLUMBIA, Mo. — Jabari Brown scored 19 points, and Jordan Clarkson added 14 to help Missouri cruise to an 89-53 win over Southeastern Louisiana in the season opener for both teams Friday night.
The Tigers (1-0) showed no signs of distress without coach Frank Haith, who started serving a five-game suspension levied by the NCAA last month.
Missouri won its 19th consecutive game at Mizzou Arena and hasn’t lost to a non-conference opponent on its own floor since the 2005-06 opener. The team used 11-0 and 14-0 runs in the first half to break the game open.
JaMichael Hawkins led Southeastern Louisiana (0-1) with 14 points, while Jeffery Ricard added nine. Ricard and Dre Evans are the only returned starters for the Lions, who were picked to finish sixth out of 12 teams in the Southland.
No. 2 Michigan St. 98, McNeese St. 56: In East Lansing, Mich., Michigan State tuned up for its highly anticipated game against top-ranked Kentucky with a season-opening rout.
Gary Harris scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half and finished with a career-high 10 rebounds, helping the Spartans beat McNeese State.
Michigan State (1-0) scored 10 straight points after trailing 13-12 early in the game and opened the second half with an 11-0 run to take a 63-25 lead. Ledrick Eackles and Jamaya Burr led the Cowboys (0-1) with 11 points each.
No. 5 Kansas 80, Louisiana-Monroe 63: In Lawrence, Kan., Andrew Wiggins scored 16 points in his highly anticipated debut, leading Kansas to a sluggish victory over ULM.
Andrew White III and Perry Ellis added 12 points each for the youthful Jayhawks, who won’t have a whole lot of time for all their newcomers to work out the kinks. Kansas, which is replacing all five starters from last season, plays No. 4 Duke on Tuesday in Chicago.
Marvin Williams had 19 points and six rebounds for the Warhawks, who didn’t look like a team that won just four games last season. They trailed 47-41 early in the second half before the quicker, more physical Jayhawks finally went on a 15-5 run to seize control.
Auburn 76, Nicholls St. 54: In Auburn, Ala., KT Harrell scored 21 points and Chris Denson had 20 to lead Auburn.
Harrell, who sat out last season after transferring from Virginia, scored 15 points in the first half to help the Tigers (1-0) snap a 10-game losing streak.
Auburn opened the second half on a 9-0 run to build a 46-29 lead and coasted the rest of the way, pushing the margin as high as 27 points.
The Colonels (0-1) shot just 34 percent (19 of 56) from the floor. Auburn was 22-of-46 shooting (48 percent). Both teams are trying to rebound from nine-win seasons
Denson made 10 of 12 free throws for the Tigers. Asauhn Dixon-Tatum had eight points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots.
Jeremy Smith led Nicholls with nine points.
SATURDAY OPENER VS. LOUISIANA COLLEGE: The Louisiana-Lafayette men, who return all five starters from last season, open the regular season at 2 p.m. Saturday against Louisiana College in the Cajundome.
The Ragin’ Cajuns played their only exhibition game of the preseason Monday, handing William Carey a 75-60 loss.
ULL returns 10 lettermen from last year’s squad, which went 13-20. The team will be centered around the duo of point guard Elfrid Payton (15.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 5.5 apg) and forward Shawn Long (15.5, 10.2), both of whom were named to the preseason All-Sun Belt first team.
ULL 80, NEBRASKA-OMAHA 68: The ULL women opened the season with a victory.
ULL finished with four players in double digits: Jasmin Mills (20) Ashley Benjamin (15), Keke Veal (15) and Sylvana Okde (13). Nebraska Omaha’s Brianna Bogard led all players with 29 points.