TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama men’s basketball team won a 68-56 decision over the Missouri Tigers on Wednesday night in Coleman Coliseum. Junior forward Riley Norris and sophomore guard Avery Johnson Jr. led the team with 13 points each, as the Crimson Tide saw four players finish in double-figures.
The win marks the first time Alabama (11-7, 4-1 SEC) has started conference play with a 4-1 mark since the 2012-13 campaign. The Tide has now claimed six wins in its last seven games entering this weekend’s contest.
“Well tonight this was another game, back-to-back games, where we were really efficient on the offensive end,” head coach Avery Johnson said. “I thought we were pretty good defensively in the first half, but our defense slipped in the second half. I thought this was another game where we saw the potential for us to become a balanced basketball team. So, I am proud of our guys for the way we moved the ball. The ball was just moving. We weren’t just standing around. They weren’t looking at me trying to get a play call. We were ready to shoot. We took quality shots in the second half, both inside and outside of the three-point line.”
The game started slowly with neither team breaking 30 points in the first half. Alabama took an early 7-2 lead at the first media timeout. The Tide used a quick 6-0 spurt to take a 13-5 lead with 11:59 left in the half, before going cold and making just two of its next 15 shots. With 7:28 to play, Alabama still held a 15-10 lead. The teams exchanged baskets down the stretch, and the Tide took a seven-point lead, 26-16, into the locker room.
Alabama held Missouri (5-12, 0-5) to just 30 percent from the field in the first half while making 33 percent of its shots. The Tide doubled the Tigers in the paint, 12-6, and outscored them in points off turnovers, 8-0. The Tide held a 23-17 advantage in rebounding, highlighted by a 9-3 advantage on the offensive glass.
Alabama used a 22-12 run over the first 8:38 of the half to take a 48-34 lead with 11:22 to play. Missouri never got any closer than 10 points the rest of the way, as the Tide cruised to its seventh home victory of the year.
The teams dramatically improved their shooting in the second half with, Alabama finishing the half at 56 percent from the field and Missouri at 50 percent.
Alabama never trailed in the contest and is now a perfect 10-0 when holding teams to fewer than 62 points. Alabama won the rebounding battle 39-31 with a 14 offensive boards to the Tigers’ five. The Tide has now won the rebounding battle in all five of its SEC games this season.
Redshirt freshman Dazon Ingram (12 points) and freshman Braxton Key (11 points), joined Johnson Jr. and Norris in double figures. Senior Jimmie Taylor added six points and nine rebounds off the bench.
Missouri was led by Terrence Phillips who led all scorers with 16 points and seven assists.
Alabama will head to Auburn to take on the rival Tigers on Saturday afternoon. The game is set to air on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. CT.
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