Trailing by 14 points in the first half and again with 13:54 left in the game, Alabama Basketball dug deep defensively and found a way to beat Missouri. In between those two points, the Tide cut the Missouri lead to one point in the first two minutes of the second half.
With 6:00 left in the game, the Tigers led by five. From that point, the Crimson Tide outscored Missouri 20-5 to take the victory. The tremendous comeback by the Tide was triggered by its defensive play and offensive rebounding.
Commenting after the game, Nate Oats said,
"I thought our guys showed some resilience and fight, find a way to fight back. Seems like Missouri has their best shooting games against us. At least we kept competing.We’ve got to figure out a game to start games with better energy, no matter who the opponent is."
The Tide’s energy was so lacking early, less than four minutes into the game, Oats inserted walk-on Britton Johnson. The little-used Johnson immediately boosted the Tide’s level of effort. The Crimson Tide’s senior walk-on played only three minutes, but he contributed two points and three offensive rebounds.
Talking about other key contributions, Oats complimented James Rojas,
"Rojas plays really hard. He’s not afraid of physicality. We got him 12 minutes and he has 6 rebounds and 6 points. All 6 points came on offensive tip-ins."
Also drawing some praise for his effort was freshman starter, JD Davison.
"we challenged him to play a little harder. If he plays hard and a little more loose … just be JD, don’t worry about a turnover here or there. Just get downhill and get to the rim. He’s worked really hard on his game."
The Crimson Tide had a big rebounding advantage over Missouri with 44 boards to 30 for the Tigers. More impressive was the Tide’s 23 offensive rebounds, compared to 14 for Missouri. The Tide’s leading rebounders were Jaden Shackelford with seven, followed by James Rojas with six and Jahvon Quinerly with five boards.
Alabama was led in scoring by Jaden Shackelford with 21 points, followed by JD Davison with 17 and Jahvon Quinerly with 13 points. In a promising sign for future games, Davison was 3-for-4 outside the arc. Keon Ellis also made 3-of-4 three-point attempts.
Another key to the game was the Tide’s tough second-half defense with few fouls. Only six second-half fouls kept the Tigers out of 1-and-1 opportunities.
Alabama Basketball plays Georgia Tuesday night in Athens. The Tide returns to the home court Saturday against Baylor.