Missouri men’s basketball went through plenty of ups and downs this past season.


At times, the Tigers looked like a deep, postseason-worthy squad with a fivesome prepared for challenges that came their way. There were also long lulls when they struggled to score or find any sort of rhythm.


In the end, Missouri finished one game below .500 at 15-16 overall and 7-11 in the Southeastern Conference, disappointing for a team with bigger goals.


Here are 10 moments that defined the Tigers’ season in order of when they occurred:


Mark Smith’s missed 3-pointer at the end of regulation at Xavier (Nov. 12, 2019)


In an early-season chance at building its postseason resume, Missouri faced the nationally ranked Musketeers in Cincinnati.


The Tigers hung with Xavier and had a chance to win the game on the final possession in regulation.


The effort fell just short, with Mark Smith missing a decent perimeter shot that would have handed MU an impressive victory in its first road game of the season and third game overall.


After Smith’s shot hit the rim and bounced out, Xavier seized momentum and never trailed in overtime to deal Missouri its first loss of the year.


Pair of 3-pointers from Charleston Southern’s Duncan LeXander late in upset (Dec. 3, 2019)


One of the ugliest points of the Tigers’ season was an eight-point home loss to Charleston Southern.


Missouri had control over its mid-major opposition for most of the game but never fully took Charleston Southern out.


Charleston Southern found late-game momentum and got the better of the Tigers for the last several minutes.


The climax in one of the worst losses of the Cuonzo Martin era was a pair of 3-pointers by Duncan LeXander on back-to-back Buccaneer possessions that took his team from tied with Missouri to up five (separated by a Javon Pickett free throw).


Charleston Southern finished the season tied for seventh in the 11-team Big South Conference.


Jeremiah Tilmon putback dunk in Braggin’ Rights win over Illinois (Dec. 21, 2019)


After wins against Temple and Southern Illinois got Missouri’s season back on track, the annual showdown against the Fighting Illini arrived on a Saturday afternoon at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis.


Missouri previously had lost away from Mizzou Arena to Butler and Oklahoma, two NCAA Tournament-caliber teams, making the matchup against Illinois critical.


The Tigers consistently held the lead throughout the game, but Jeremiah Tilmon’s left-handed, putback dunk put Missouri up 14 and brought the black and gold end of the Enterprise Center to a fever pitch.


The Illini, who would have been an NCAA Tournament team as well, looked frustrated the rest of the game as Missouri won its second straight Braggin’ Rights trophy.


Dru Smith first-half 3-pointer in explosive win over Florida (Jan. 11, 2020)


Missouri started SEC play 0-2 with losses to Kentucky and Tennessee. As a snow storm hit Columbia, the Tigers took on Florida in a Saturday night showdown.


In front of a sparse yet engaged crowd, the Tigers put together arguably their best offensive performance of the season.


MU led by as many as 18 points in the first half, with Dru Smith hitting a 3 that brought Missouri to a 45-27 lead with 3:25 until halftime.


The Tigers scored 51 points in that first half and 91 in the game overall, and it looked like they had turned a corner and could vault up the conference standings.


Mitchell Smith turnover turns into Iverson Molinar dunk vs. Mississippi State (Jan. 14, 2020)


Momentum quickly cooled down for Missouri after the win over Florida with a dud in its next game against Mississippi State.


The Tigers scored three points in the first eight minutes and found themselves in a double-digit hole they couldn’t overcome in Starkville.


Heading into the under-12 media timeout in the first half, the Tigers’ struggles compounded with a Mitchell Smith turnover, as the Bulldogs’ Iverson Molinar stole the ball and went in for a dunk on a fast break.


Missouri scored only 45 points in the game, the first of a few lackluster offensive outings.


Torrence Watson 3-point miss at the buzzer vs. Texas A&M (Jan. 21, 2020)


Late in the second half at home against Texas A&M, Missouri set the NCAA team record for most free-throw attempts made in a row (54).


The Tigers, however, still trailed the Aggies.


Missouri had one final chance to win the game down two with 2.7 seconds to go, but the Tigers had to go the length of the floor.


Mark Smith, an accomplished baseball player in his own right, made the full-court pass to a leaping Parker Braun.


Braun caught the ball in mid-air and dished it to Torrence Watson, standing alone at the 3-point line.


Watson got an open look, but his shot hit the back rim and fell out of the cylinder as time expired and the Tigers fell to 1-5 in the SEC.


Reed Nikko game-clinching block of Anthony Edwards vs. Georgia (Jan. 28, 2020)


Another tough home contest came a week later, as Georgia, also toward the bottom of the SEC standings, came to Columbia.


The second half against the Bulldogs proved to be Reed Nikko’s star-making performance. He was already beloved by diehard MU fans, but his presence against Georgia made his abilities widely known in Columbia.


The Bulldogs still had a chance to tie the game on their second-to-last possession, and their standout Anthony Edwards, who could be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, drove with an open lane toward the hoop for a high-percentage layup.


Nikko, from behind, swatted Edwards’ shot into the backboard for a clean block. Mitchell Smith grabbed the loose ball and MU secured the win.


It was clear: Big ‘Sota had arrived.


Xavier Pinson alley-oop to Tray Jackson vs. Arkansas (Feb. 8, 2020)


Old habits were hard to break for Missouri with two road losses to Texas A&M and South Carolina after the win over Georgia.


Missouri returned home for its annual Rally for Rhyan game against the Razorbacks and won an overtime thriller.


Xavier Pinson started his phenomenal stretch to end the season in this game, scoring 24 points.


To close out the game, Pinson had two Razorbacks closing down on him in transition when he lobbed the ball to an open Tray Jackson for an alley-oop with 22 seconds left in overtime.


The Kobe Brown no-foul vs. Arkansas in Fayetteville (Feb. 22, 2020)


The rematch against the Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena two weeks later was a game of distinctive runs.


Missouri jumped out to an early double-digit lead, which Arkansas closed by halftime. The Razorbacks had a double-digit second-half lead before Missouri made a run to get within two.


On what would’ve been the game-tying possession, Kobe Brown drove to the hoop and appeared to draw a foul on an Arkansas player. The smack of skin on either another player or the ball was clearly heard on the broadcast, but the result of the play was a Brown turnover.


Martin vehemently disagreed with the no-call and Missouri would end up losing by 10 points.


Reed Nikko’s senior send-off vs. Alabama (March 7, 2020)


Missouri’s final regular-season game was a celebration for Nikko, the team’s lone senior.


Although his performance wasn’t one of his best — three points and four rebounds in 16 minutes — the forward was on the receiving end of well-earned appreciation.


His final actions on the court in Columbia came as he was substituted into the game for Tilmon with 1:07 remaining and exited to a standing ovation for Evan Yerkes with 14 seconds left.


Nikko’s wave was the last of his college career, as the novel coronavirus canceled the SEC Tournament and ended any postseason chances the Tigers had.


However, Nikko’s steady influence will carry on.


eblum@columbiatribune.com