The Alabama men’s basketball team notched its second straight Southeastern Conference win, and third league victory in the last four games, by taming the Missouri Tigers, 88-74, Saturday afternoon.
The Crimson Tide (10-7, 3-2 SEC) overcame an incredible showing by the Tigers from the free throw line. Mizzou hit 31-of-31 free throws in the game, including 21-21 in the opening stanza, which set an SEC record. It was three shy of the NCAA record set by Oklahoma on March 2, 2013 against Iowa State (34-of-34).
Five Alabama players finished in double figures to lead the team. Junior John Petty Jr. finished with a team-high 20 points, sinking 4-of-10 beyond the arc and grabbing six rebounds. He is now just seven points shy of becoming the 51st player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career.
Junior Alex Reese scored 15 of his season-high 17 points in the first half, while freshman Jaden Shackelford also earned 17 points. Junior Herbert Jones earned his second-consecutive double-double with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds and sophomore Kira Lewis Jr. had 10 points and a game-high seven assists.
Missouri (9-8, 1-4) was led by Dru Smith’s 18 points, followed by Mark Smith who finished with 15.
Coach Nate Oats Postgame Comments
- “I thought it was a huge win for our guys. We talked to them about answering the bell after a big win against Auburn. It’s kind of human nature to possibly have a letdown, so I thought we needed to avoid that. I thought we came out of the gate a tad sluggish, but we picked it up there in the first half and got ourselves a lead. I thought Reese’s shooting in the first half really helped us out. We came out of halftime and I challenged JP and everybody. I told him, ‘We need to pick this thing up. We have to get some more rebounds, get some more energy and fight.’ I thought he was great. He’s coachable, great guy to coach. He just basically said ‘Yeah, you’re right. Let’s get this thing going.’ He got it going the second half. Our defensive efficiency was much better in the second half. In the past, our defense kind of takes a step back in the second half and today it took a step up. When you play a team as good as Missouri, they go 31-31 at the free throw line, that shows you they were focused and ready to play. This is a team, that when they’ve been focused and ready to play, just smashed Florida. For them to make 31 straight free throws and we still won by 14, we had to be doing a lot of good things.”
- The Crimson Tide assisted on 18 of its 25 made field goals
- Missouri’s free throw shooting overshadowed an impressive performance by the Tide from the free throw line, as UA knocked down 25-of-30 (83.3 percent) from the charity stripe including 21-of-23 (91.3 percent) in the second half
- The team attempted a season-high 39 three-pointers; Alabama had 42 combined threes over its previous two contests
- Thirteen three-pointers were made during the game by the Tide, ranking the third highest this season after Samford (17) and Southern Miss (15)
- Over the past two games combined, Alabama has trailed for just 3:14
- Jones earned his second-consecutive double-double, and his third of his career
- Petty earned his fourth 20-plus scoring game of the season
- Missouri got out to an early 7-6 lead at the 15:39 media stoppage
- Reese scored nine of Alabama’s first 13 points, including two triples, as Alabama led 13-11 at the 12:55 mark
- With Alabama leading 19-15, back-to-back three-pointers from Petty stretched the Tide’s lead to 25-15 with 8:47 to go in the half
- After a 7-0 Missouri run cut the Tide’s lead to 25-22, a 10-3 Alabama run extended its lead out to 35-25 with 4:09 to go until half
- Alabama closed out the half with a three-point barrage, but Missouri’s perfect free throw shooting (21-for-21) kept the Tide from building a double-digit lead, as Alabama entered the break leading 47-40
- Alabama made 44 percent (11-of-25) of its attempts from deep, including Reese going 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and Petty making 3-of-7
- Reese led with a game-high 15 points at the break, while Shackelford added 11 and Lewis dished out six first half assists
- Jones wiped two points off the board for Missouri with an impressive block, then added a layup for the Tide to extend Alabama’s lead to 59-49 with 14:48 to play
- An 11-4 run by the Tigers trimmed Alabama’s lead to just 63-60 with 11:39 remaining
- Alabama got up as much as eight points, but Missouri cut the Tide’s lead to 71-68 with 7:34 left to play
- A Petty triple with 4:08 remaining brought the Coleman Coliseum crowd to its feet and extended Alabama’s lead to 80-72
- Alabama would finish the game on an 8-2 run to secure the win
The Tide will return to action on Wednesday night as it travels to Nashville, Tenn. to face Vanderbilt. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. CT and will be available to watch on SEC Network.