Alabama Men’s Basketball Returns to Winning Ways with 70-60 Victory at Missouri
The Alabama men's basketball team snapped a two-game losing skid by capturing its first road win in Southeastern Conference play, defeating Missouri, 70-60, on Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena. With the victory, the Crimson Tide captured its second consecutive win on the Tigers’ home floor and improves to 11-5 on the season and 2-2 in SEC play.
Graduate senior Avery Johnson Jr. led all players with a season-high 14 points off the bench, helping lead the Crimson Tide reserves to a 33-15 edge in bench points. Senior Donta Hall notched his league-leading eighth double-double of the season – and fifth in his last six games – finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the victory.
“One of the things we talked about coming into this game was for our team to match Missouri’s physicality without fouling and we felt like we were successful in that area,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “Missouri is going to win some games in the SEC – this league is tough each and every night. We are thankful we were able to go on the road and get this win. Give our guys credit. We were able to bounce back from a tough, tough loss at home, go on the road and get this win tonight.”
The Crimson Tide limited the Tigers (9-6, 0-3) to just 60 points, which is the fewest points allowed by Alabama on the season. In addition to the advantage in bench points, Alabama outscored Missouri, 40-30, in the paint and owned a 37-29 edge on the glass – the 15th time in 16 games that UA has won the battle of the boards this season.
It was a back-and-forth contest to begin the game, as the Tide and Tigers battled through four lead changes in the first nine minutes. Neither team was able to take a clear lead until Alabama went on an 11-0 run midway through the half to take a double-figure lead. Alabama went on to hold a 32-26 advantage at the intermission. The 26 points by Mizzou was the second-fewest points allowed by the Tide in a half this season (held Ball State to 21 points in the first half on Nov. 16).
Alabama came out firing in the second half with a quick 7-0 run over the opening 1:57 stretch to take its largest lead of the game, 39-26, with 18:03 remaining in the contest.
Mizzou would battle back with a 9-0 run of its own to cut the lead to 39-35, however, Alabama forced turnovers in back-to-back possessions to put the Tide back up by eight, 43-35, at the 15:44 mark.
That was when Johnson Jr., whose previous season high was four points, took over by scoring nine points in a span of just over five minutes, helping the Tide keep it a three possession game.
Mizzou had one last gasp and whittled the lead to just six points, but freshman guard Kira Lewis Jr. hit a timely three-pointer to give Alabama a 64-55 lead with 2:24 left to play. From there, the Tide went going 6-of-7 from the charity stripe to result in the final score.
In addition to Alabama’s two double-figure scorers, Lewis Jr. and junior Dazon Ingram added nine points apiece, while sophomore Alex Reese scored seven points. All 10 Crimson Tide players who saw action on the night scored at least three points. Alabama held the lead for over 35 minutes in this game and did not trail in the second half.
Alabama will close out the current two-game road swing when it travels to Knoxville, Tenn., as it squares off against No. 3 Tennessee on Saturday afternoon. The game will tipoff at 1 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPN2.