COLUMBIA --- One day later, two different sports, two expected results.From Roll Tide to Tide Rolled.This is the state of sports in Alabama.
Less than 24 hours after winning another national football championship (yawn), Alabama tried its luck at basketball, but was outmatched by No. 10 Missouri 84-68 in the Tigers' SEC debut Tuesday night before a crowd of 13,895 at Mizzou Arena.
Not that many Alabama fans probably even noticed, as they're surely still in a Roll Tide!!! mode.
Sorry, y'all, we're not playing football anymore.
Roll Tigers. Hah! Take that.
"Great win for us, great first SEC win," Missouri coach Frank Haith said. "I'm really proud of our guys."
In Missouri's first SEC football game last September, the event had the passion of a honeymoon, and it almost made Mardi Gras look like a church social.
Tuesday night was more like a birthday party for a 1 year-old. Quite subdued and at times, messy.
Before the starting lineups were announced, Missouri recognized Alabama on its football win Monday night. Nice gesture.
Both teams had 12-0 runs in the first half, before Missouri's Jabari Brown caught fire in the closing minutes by hitting a trio of 3-pointers in a 77-second span to help the Tigers (12-2, 1-0) take a 40-36 halftime lead.
"We were really efficient on offense," Haith said. "We got a lot of good looks and obviously we got a great game out of Jabari."
Brown's game Saturday against Bucknell wasn't so great --- 1-of-9 shooting, three points. Tuesday night, the sophomore was 5-of-7 (all 3-pointers) as he dropped in a career-high 22 points.
"Coach knows I can shoot and my teammates know I can shoot," Brown said, "and Phil (Pressey) does a great job of setting me up for good shots.
"It felt like the basket gets bigger and bigger out there, and I feel like every shot is going to go in."
The Crimson Tide (8-6, 0-1) --- which had home losses to Dayton, Mercer and Tulane in December --- tied it one last time at 40 early in the second half. But another 3-ball by Brown, who hit five straight, gave the Tigers the lead for good at 43-40.
The lead was 72-64, when Missouri finished with the game with 12-4 flurry to apply the knockout blow. This was in stark contrast to the recent game at UCLA, when the Tigers blew a nine-point lead in the final four minutes in an overtime loss to the Bruins."This time when we had a nine- or 10-point lead," Haith said, "we were able to stretch it to 16, which was great to see."
Alabama junior Trevor Releford --- a preseason SEC first-team selection and the younger brother of Kansas standout Travis Releford (remember him?) --- knocked in a game-high 26 points, 19 coming in the first half.
Pressey had another big game for the Tigers with 11 points and a Mizzou Arena-record 13 assists. Alex Oriahki also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Earnest Ross had a season-high 19 points, and Laurence Bowers scored 16.
Bowers went down with 6:19 to play, left the game and didn't return. It appeared he banged his surgically-repaired left knee with an Alabama player, but the injury is not considered serious.
"Missouri has a great team, a lot of great pieces" Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "They're worthy of all the accolades they've gotten."
Will we ever hear those words from Nick Saban? Don't hold your breath, but how fabulous would that be?