Thu, 26 May 2022

Alabama has score to settle with Missouri

Field Level Media
22 Jan 2022, 08:19 GMT+10

Alabama will seek payback when it hosts Missouri on Saturday in Southeastern Conference play in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The Crimson Tide (12-6, 3-3 SEC) were ranked No. 15 before they fell 92-86 on the road to the Tigers (8-9, 2-3) on Jan. 8.

That sent Alabama into a three-game tailspin. Subsequent losses to No. 4 Auburn and Mississippi State left Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats questioning his team's toughness.

Alabama regrouped to topple No. 13 LSU 70-67 on Wednesday despite ice-cold perimeter shooting. The Crimson Tide went 0 of 15 from 3-point range in the second half but prevailed with better team defense.

"We didn't have our best game on the offensive line, but we had a lot of effort," Oats said. "We need to get it back to where we thought it was going to be."

Alabama outrebounded LSU 44-36 and forced 20 turnovers in the victory.

"If we play hard and shoot well, we'll win comfortably and if we don't shoot well but play hard, we'll win," Oates said. "We don't want to be talking about games we lose because we don't play hard."

That was the case against Missouri, which got a 30-point, 13-rebound performance from Kobe Brown when the Tigers pulled off the upset.

"We got to get some leadership," Oats said after that defeat. "We got to figure out how to get these guys motivated to play a little bit harder. Disappointing loss. We got to look ourselves in the eye and maybe we got to play some guys more minutes."

Oats made a notable change for the LSU game, starting JD Davison ahead of Jahvon Quinerly, the team's second-leading scorer at 14.9 points per game.

"I thought maybe it'd help JD get some confidence, give them both a little boost," Oats said. "I thought (Quinerly) played well off the bench. I thought he came in and made some really good plays, great decisions. He looked better tonight."

Missouri is 3-1 against Alabama on Oats' watch, with all three wins coming in Columbia, Mo.

The Tigers are coming off an impressive 78-53 victory at Ole Miss.

Amari Davis, who missed the previous Alabama game while in the COVID-19 protocol, scored 23 points against the Rebels on 10-of-10 shooting from the floor.

"The offensive game plan we had, it was a lot of ball screens," Davis said. "We were being aggressive on the ball screens, attacking the bigs and making them make a choice whether to stop the ball or get back. They didn't stop the ball, so that was my chance to shoot my midrange shot. I was making them tonight."

The Tigers are shooting just 25.8 percent from 3-point range this season, which ranks 349th among Division I teams. So coach Cuonzo Martin continues to stress his team's need to attack the basket, which they did at Ole Miss.

They shot 62.7 percent (32 of 51) from the field and 57.1 percent (4 of 7) from 3-point range.

"It's not a case of me saying don't shoot the three," Martin said. "But just be assertive, be aggressive. Put pressure on the defense. When a 3-point shot presents itself, get ready to take the shot. If you can drive the ball, you can play in space, look to score and get to the rim."

--Field Level Media

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