COLUMBIA, Mo. | The University of Alabama’s late-season slump continued at landslide proportions on Saturday as the Crimson Tide put most of its chronic problems on full display in a 69-50 defeat at Missouri.
The Crimson Tide actually led a sloppily-played game 37-34 with 9:45 to play but gave up a 10-0 run in less than two minutes, falling behind by seven points with eight minutes to play and appearing to punch the metaphorical time clock ending the working day with about eight minutes remaining.
“With 10 minutes to go, we’re up by three points, then we give up a run and we just caved,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “Our staff charts the possession and between the point where we had a three-point lead until they called a timeout to put (senior Reed) Nikko back in the game with about a minute to go, they scored on 17 of 18 possessions. I thought our effort was good enough until midway through the second half, even if we weren’t good offensively. But it disappeared after that.”
Alabama hit a season-low four 3-point shots. Guards Kira Lewis and Jaden Shackelford were four of 12 from 3-point range, with the rest of the team going 0-for-13.
John Petty Jr. returned to the Alabama lineup after missing two games with a hyperextended elbow but was clearly uncomfortable and did not score.
Lewis led Alabama with 18 points, while Shackelford added 12. Galin Smith scored 10 points but no Alabama players other than those three made a field goal.
“When we don’t make 3’s, that lets the other team squeeze the floor on Kira and that makes it really difficult. I thought his effort was good, but some of their pressure made him give up the ball and we just don’t have enough playmakers around him.”
Dru Smith led Missouri (15-16, 7-11 SEC) with 17 points while Mark Smith added 13.
Alabama will open play in the SEC Tournament on Thursday against an opponent to be determined Saturday night.