COLUMBIA, Mo. - Five Missouri Tigers scored Tuesday night in Mizzou's first-ever Southeastern Conference game against Alabama, and all five ended in double figures, as MU pulled away late for an 84-68 win at Mizzou Arena. The 10th-ranked Tigers improved to 12-2 overall and 1-0 in SEC play, while the Crimson Tide fell to 8-6 and 0-1.
Sophomore guard Jabari Brown led the way with a career-high 22 points, buoyed by 5-of-7 shooting from three-point range as the Tigers made 9-of-15 from long distance against an Alabama defense which came into the game allowing opponents to shoot just 30.2% on three-pointers.
Frank Haith's Tigers shot a solid 56.6% from the floor overall (30-of-53 FGs), after they connected on just 42.9% in Saturday's 66-64 win over Bucknell. Mizzou was outrebounded by the Crimson Tide by a 32-27 margin in front of a season-best crowd of 13,895.
Junior guard Phil Pressey tied a Mizzou Arena single-game high with 13 assists, and he added 11 points in 35 minutes. Alex Oriakhi led the charge in the paint, with 16 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Oriakhi's offensive rebound and putback with 10:53 left in the game gave Mizzou a 57-51 lead, and that sparked the Tigers to a 7-0 scoring run which gave them an 11-point lead, at 62-51 with 9:00 remaining. Oriakhi finished off the mini-run with another bucket in the paint.
Mizzou jumped out to a quick 10-point lead early in the game, but a scoring drought which spanned over four-and-a-half minutes allowed the Crimson Tide to turn a 17-7 deficit into a 19-17 lead midway through the half. The Tigers gathered their footing and took a 40-36 lead into the lockerroom at halftime.
Earnest Ross had a big game for the Tigers coming off the bench Tuesday, as he chimed in with 19 points, marking a Mizzou scoring high for the junior forward. Ross was 7-of-12 from the floor on the night, including 3-of-4 from three-point range.
Senior forward Laurence Bowers also had a big night, as he contributed 16 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots before leaving the game in the final five minutes when he appeared to knock knees amid traffic in the lane. He was unable to return to the game, but the extent of the injury isn't yet known.
Alabama's Trevor Releford scored a game-high 26 points, but he was held to just seven points in the second half after scoring 19 first-half points.
Mizzou will hit the road for its first-ever SEC road game, as they play Saturday night at Ole Miss. Tipoff for the game is set for 7 p.m. (central time), with the game being televised on FOX Sports Net. The Tigers' next home game is set for Jan. 16th against Georgia.
Be sure to stay tuned to MUTigers.com for continuing coverage of Tiger Basketball.