Alabama rolled into Columbia heavily favored to beat a Mizzou squad that was undermanned due to COVID issues, but instead gave up a whopping 92 points en route to a six point loss.
Alabama was on fire in the first half, knocking down 53% overall including half of their 12 three point attempts, but thanks to some lackluster defense and a Herculean effort from Mizzou PF Kobe Brown, the Tide led by only three at the half. The Huntsville native led all scorers with 17 at the break and added seven boards, including three of eight that Mizzou grabbed on the offensive end. Boxing out on defense is a bugaboo that continues to hamper the Tide.
Missouri started fast after the break, seizing an eight point lead with 15 minutes to play at 57-49. For whatever reason, Nate Oats’ squad seemed to have little interest in defending anyone to that point, allowing several easy looks at the hoop. A three pointer with 12 minutes left staked the Tigers to a 13 point advantage and the TIde wouldn’t seriously threaten from there.
This was frankly a pathetic effort against a shorthanded Tigers squad. Missouri certainly deserves credit for a high energy performance and some sharpshooting, but Alabama was a step slow for most of the afternoon and for whatever reason they just weren’t able to dig down and get stops to stay in the game. They finally decided to turn up the heat very late in hopes of mounting a furious comeback, and had they played with the same level of intensity for 40 minutes would likely have pulled out a victory. A couple of bounces didn’t go their way late, but they shouldn’t have needed them. Waiting until the eleventh hour to give maximum effort on defense just isn’t going to cut in in conference play.
The good news, of course, is that this is merely one game. Their competitive character was challenged on the road and they didn’t respond well. There’s no time to dwell on it with a scorching hot Auburn squad rolling into town for a late tip on Tuesday. Hopefully Nate Oats can rally the troops and get them ready to go.