As brilliantly as Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown played for Missouri in Thursday night’s 86-85 win over Arkansas, the Tigers know a two-man show won’t get them to the NCAA Tournament.

The junior guards combined for 52 points against the Razorbacks, including 25 from the free throw line, but their supporting cast pitched in, too, including a rare sighting of reserve forward Tony Criswell. One of just two seniors on Frank Haith’s roster, Criswell had barely factored into the Tigers’ output the last two months but provided six points and six rebounds in a foul-free 19 minutes Thursday.

In a tight game that saw 11 lead changes, every point mattered.

It was the most points Criswell has scored since Mizzou’s Southeastern Conference opener against Georgia on Jan. 8. He had gone scoreless in three of the last four games as fouls sapped his playing time and aggressiveness off the bench. With Haith starved for some frontcourt production alongside starting sophomore Ryan Rosburg, Criswell’s spark was crucial against Arkansas.

“Tony hasn’t had the consistency we’ve needed from him, but it was good to see him, being a senior, making some plays and getting some rebounds,” said Haith, whose Tigers (17-7, 5-6 SEC) play host to Tennessee (15-9, 6-5) at 3 p.m. today at Mizzou Arena. “That’s important for us as we go forward because he is a senior. And if we get production out of Tony, that only strengthens our team.”

Criswell, a 6-foot-9 transfer from Independence Community College who began his career at Alabama-Birmingham, was an effective role player last season, averaging 5.2 points and 4.8 rebounds as a 44.4 percent shooter. His numbers are down across the board this season: He’s playing fewer minutes, down from 18.8 a game last year to 16.0, while shooting 41.0 percent and averaging 4.4 points and 4.0 rebounds.

Criswell began the season on the bench serving a two-game suspension for violating team rules and has since seen his minutes fluctuate from game to game. Occasionally too attached to his long-range jumper — he’s just four of 14 from the 3-point arc — Criswell has played 10 or fewer minutes in four conference games. But with freshman forward Johnathan Williams III slumping the last few weeks, Haith has desperately needed a frontcourt player to emerge.

For a few stretches Thursday, that was Criswell. The Tigers will especially need his production today against one of the better forward combinations in the SEC. Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes, a 6-8 junior, is the only SEC player averaging a double-double (14.6 points, 11.6 rebounds) in conference play. He has 14 double-doubles this season and 32 for his career, both of which lead the SEC.

He ranks fifth nationally with 4.3 offensive rebounds a game, while Jeronne Maymon, a 6-8 senior, is the SEC’s No. 3 rebounder, averaging 8.2 boards a game.

That means Missouri can’t afford another no-show from one of its core frontcourt players, whether that’s Williams, Rosburg, Criswell or freshmen reserve Torren Jones.

“We need every point, every rebound we can get out of those guys,” Haith said. “Tony, having been there… he’s got the problem of, we’ve seen him do it. There’s a huge understanding … that we’ve seen Tony be that guy, make those plays, get that big rebound, make a tough shot before. There’s no question it’d be great to get him these last seven ball games playing like he’s capable of playing.”