With less than 14 minutes left in Missouri's return to Southeastern Conference action, the Tigers trailed Georgia by 20.

Just like MU has at a few other times this season, however, it crawled back into the game.

This time, it was enough to walk out of Mizzou Arena with a win.

Missouri outscored Georgia 33-10 in the final 13:09 to defeat the Bulldogs 72-69 Tuesday night in front of an announced crowd of 8,451.

“I needed that to sleep a little better,” Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin said. “You have to know how to fight through stuff. Don’t give up.”

Martin said he likes looking back on games like the victory over Georgia because of how it relates to fighting through adversity in real life.

Missouri did so while combating the next-level ability of projected 2020 NBA Draft lottery pick and Georgia freshman phenom Anthony Edwards.

Edwards never came out of the game, finishing with a contest-best 23 points. He needed three more to send the game to overtime, as his 3-pointer rimmed out at the final buzzer.

Georgia made only one non-layup field goal in the last 12 minutes of the game.

Xavier Pinson tied for the Missouri lead in scoring with 16 points and also hit the game-winning shot with 37 seconds remaining. Dru Smith also scored 16 points for the Tigers.

Reed Nikko scored a career-high 13 points, Mitchell Smith added 12 and Javon Pickett finished the game with 11.

Mark Smith did not play for the entire second half with a lower back injury. He did not score in 16 minutes in the first half.

The Tigers improved to 10-10 overall and 2-5 in the SEC. Georgia falls to 11-9 overall and 1-6 in league play. The win snaps Missouri's four-game losing streak dating back to Jan. 11.

“I think we just showed a lot of toughness and also just to not have a losing streak looming over our head anymore, I think it’s going to let us play more freely,” Nikko said.

Georgia head coach Tom Crean said usual starter Sahvir Wheeler suffered an injury during practice Monday and was unable to play against the Tigers.

Despite the second-half freefall, Crean said he doesn't think the loss was due to getting too comfortable but rather a lack of execution.

“I don’t think we stayed urgent enough on the defensive end,” Crean admitted. “I don’t think we were comfortable, I don’t think we were relaxed. I think we did not continue to guard the way we were guarding.”

Missouri returns to action Saturday with a road test against South Carolina. Tip-off is set for 2:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.

eblum@columbiatribune.com