Cruise control

Iona 81, Georgia 78. Youngstown State 68, Georgia 56.

Enough said.

But if you need more: Mercer 58, Georgia 49.

Do you know where Mercer is? Their mascot? Me neither. If your answers were the United States and some animal, those don't count.

These were all home losses for Georgia, our new basketball friend in the SEC. The Bulldogs, however, were a nice get-well card in overpriced basketball shoes for Missouri on Wednesday night, as the No. 17 Tigers cruised to a 79-62 win at Mizzou Arena.

"This was a good win for us," Missouri coach Frank Haith said, "and we needed this after the last game."

After Saturday's ugly 64-49 drubbing at Mississippi, the Tigers (13-3, 2-1 SEC) welcomed the Bulldogs (6-10, 0-3) with open arms.

As far as basketball goes, there's no W in Georgia. But there should be. Georgia was one of only two teams in the country from the "power" conferences to have a losing record entering conference play. The other? USC.

Georgia and USC would be an entertaining football game. Basketball, not so much.

With Laurence Bowers still out with a knee injury, Haith altered his starting lineup. Enter Stefan Janknovic and Tony Criswell, who's battling his own injury issues (broken finger). But Jankovic hit the bench early with three fouls, and then Earnest Ross left with a ankle injury 2 1/2 minutes before the break.

"Some guys had to play a little bit more," Haith said. "We had some unique combinations out there."

The Tigers led by as many as 14 points in the first half, at 36-22, with 3:27 left in the first half, before Vincent Williams --- who scored a game-high 23 points --- hit a some 3-balls from the parking lot to get the Bulldogs within eight at the break.

On Saturday, Missouri couldn't hit the broad side of Mississippi --- just 37 percent from the field, 11 percent on 3-pointers. Wednesday night in the friendly confines, the Tigers shot 48 percent from the floor and 41 percent on 3-pointers, with Jabari Brown hitting three long balls.

"Coach just talks about making the extra pass, and my teammates do a great job of getting me open looks," Brown said.

The game was never in the danger zone after the break, as Missouri improved to 4-0 all-time against Georgia. The lead was never less than eight.

Earnest Ross and Brown both had 15 points for the Tigers, Keion Bell scored 14 and Alex Oriakhi totaled 13 points and eight rebounds.

"Alex was outstanding and did a really good job on the boards," Haith said. "We just have to take strong shots and I thought we did that in the second half.

"We have a tendency to avoid contact, but we have to be able to go through the defense."

You want contact? Next stop: A trip to No. 9 Florida at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Tigers will get all the contact they want. Florida, unlike most other SEC schools, is good at both football and basketball. This will be anything but easy.

"We just have to execute better than we did in our last road game," Brown said, "and play tough defense and limit them to one shot."

By the way, Mercer is in Georgia. And they're the Bears.