Alabama basketball stumbles at Missouri, falling behind by 18 on way to 92-86 loss
Alabama basketball lost to Missouri, 92-86, in Colombia, Missouri, on Saturday behind second-half struggles and a failed comeback.
The Crimson Tide led by three at halftime but let Missouri take an 18-point lead with 10 minutes to go. Alabama brought the game close late but couldn't finish.
The No. 20 Crimson Tide (11-4, 2-1 SEC) was led by Jahvon Quinerly with 19 points, and Jaden Shackelford with 17. J.D. Davison added 13 points with seven rebounds and Keon Ellis finished with 12 points.
The Tigers (7-7, 1-1 SEC) were down two players, Amari Davis and Anton Brookshire, due to COVID-19 protocols. The 92 points are a season high for Missouri.
Alabama started the second half 3-for-14 from the field, allowing the Tigers to race out to a 13-point lead with 12 minutes to go. Missouri then forced four turnovers to create a 18-point lead.
It brought back memories of last season's matchup in Columbia, when the Tigers pulled out to a 22-point second-half lead before Alabama rallied and missed the tying shot as time expired.
This time around, Missouri didn't give the Crimson Tide a chance to tie it late, but Alabama was able to narrow the margin enough to make it a game late.
JD Davison shows improvement
After experiencing some freshman struggles over the last few games, including an eight-turnover game against Tennessee, Davison had eight first-half points against Missouri.
Davison also had one turnover with four assists. His defense improved, shown by a first-half block in the paint and led the team in its blue-collar points.
"Playing hard goes a long ways," coach Nate Oats said. "We challenged him, 'Lets play a little harder.' ... I thought he had a good mix of being aggressive while still taking care of the ball tonight"
Davison has shown flashes, including a 20-point game vs. Gonzaga, hadn't scored more than five points in a contest over the last four games.
Couldn't slow Kobe Brown
Kobe Brown is Missouri's leading scorer at 14.2 points per game. He is the team leader in rebounds as well.
In the first half, he had 17 of Missouri's 40 total points and added seven rebounds. It was on an efficient 6-for-9 from the field, including 2-for-2 from 3-point ranges.
Brown ended with 30 points and 13 rebounds.
Alabama goes zone early
Alabama opened up in a 2-3 zone, something unusual for an Oats-coached team.
Oats said Alabama went to zone since it didn't have good matchups for its center Charles Bediako, but switched out after the start.
Alabama has struggled on defense, something that Oats has lamented following recent games. Crimson Tide players seemed to be confused on what assignments they were to be covering, allowing the Tigers to start on 9-0 run against the one.
Alabama left the zone by the first media timeout, going on a 6-0 run of its own right after.
Alabama hosts Auburn on Tuesday (8 p.m. CT, ESPN).