For a good part of their game tonight, it looked like it was the Missouri Tigers’ night, but unfortunately for the Tigers, they just didn’t have it a for a full forty minutes on the road.
The Tigers came out hot just like they did in Columbia when they met Alabama earlier this year. A Trevon Brazile transition dunk on the first play of the game got the Tigers rolling, and it was followed by a 12-0 run that gave them an early 14-3 lead.
Immediately, Nate Oats was forced to call timeout, and the Crimson Tide knew they were going to need mount a serious comeback.
With their back against the wall, the Crimson Tide rallied. Little by little, Nate Oats’ squad fought their way back into the game, and even tied it up in the first half thanks to 10 first half point from Jaden Shackelford, who finished with 21.
However, once the score was tied, Missouri rediscovered their groove to take a 4 point lead into half, and when the two teams returned they stayed hot.
Missouri started 6-7 from three including a statement And-One three from Ronnie DeGray III, although he missed the free throw. Everyone got in the action for the Tigers as 5 players made threes and four scored in double figures, but Boogie Coleman undoubtedly led the way for the upset-minded Tigers.
Coleman’s 5-9 performance from beyond the arc was good enough for 17 points, and he added 4 rebounds and 3 assists as well. However, as the Tigers tried to hold onto their lead down the stretch, the explosive offense to begin the half disappeared.
“We were good matching buckets the whole half, but in the last 7 minutes to 10 minutes we stopped scoring,” Coleman explained after the game.
While the Tigers missed shots, the Crimson Tide kept making them. With 5:11 to play the Tide tied the game at 73 after the Tigers had led by as many as 14 earlier in the game. After that they didn’t look back.
Led by Jahvon Quinerly’s 13 second half points, the Tide finished the game on a 19-3 run, and Missouri just couldn’t keep pace as they fell 86-76.
While the Crimson Tide’s comeback was impressive, the disparity of just 13 Missouri fouls to 6 Alabama fouls stood out. In the end, the Tide shot 29 free throws to just 5 for Missouri.
“I’m trying to be as respectful as I can when I say this,” Cuonzo Martin said in the postgame. “But five free throws in a physical game when both teams play man to man in the SEC?”
Coleman echoed the frustrations of his head coach, as well, saying, “The refs were letting them play on their end, and they weren’t letting us play on ours so it was kind of frustrating trying to play through it,” he explained. “But, I mean, that’s how the game went. We have to continue to play through it and just find a way to come out on top.”
The Tigers will take on No. 2 Auburn for their next game on Tuesday back in Columbia.