Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama men’s basketball tops SEC standings after convincing win against Missouri

CW / Riley Thompson
Alabama guard Rylan Griffen (#3) fights to keep the ball from a Missouri defender.

Alabama men’s basketball is on top of the SEC — for now, at least.  

The Crimson Tide won its fourth straight game in conference play and sixth straight overall with a 93-75 victory Tuesday night over the Missouri Tigers. This win puts the Crimson Tide at the top of the SEC standings for the time being.  

Despite the winter storm ravaging much of the state of Alabama with temperatures in the low 20s in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide faithful braved the harsh conditions to make the trip to Coleman Coliseum and were as loud and passionate as they have been all season.   

“I thought for the weather out there tonight, our home crowd was unbelievable,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said postgame. “For a time when everyone could have had an excuse to stay in with the weather, they chose to come out and support us. That means a lot to us.”  

Missouri looked to suck the energy out of the arena early, though, hitting five of its first six shots to take an early lead.  

Alabama hung around and reclaimed the lead, despite its slow start offensively. Alabama did not give up the lead for the rest of the contest, despite some struggles offensively.  

Forward Nick Pringle led the Crimson Tide in scoring at the half with 10, and no other Alabama player scored more than 7.  

The first half played out much like Alabama’s last contest, against Mississippi State. Although offensive play was not the best, aggressive and inspired defense helped keep the Crimson Tide afloat.  

While the energy was already high inside Coleman, it was cranked up to a whole different notch after Alabama head football coach Kalen DeBoer was introduced to fans during the first half.  

The Crimson Tide seemed to feed off this energy, as passions got high on several occasions. Three total technical fouls were called during the game, with forward Grant Nelson and guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr. receiving one apiece.  

One incident in the first half even saw Oats give a shove to Missouri forward Aidan Shaw as he approached the Alabama bench. Oats, who picked up his 200th career win with the victory, made it a priority to apologize as he faced the media postgame.  

“I’ve known Coach Gates for a longtime, so it’s no disrespect to him or his program,” Oats said. “Aidan seems like a great kid. It’s an unfortunate situation but I apologize to both of them.”  

Alabama held on to a 36-34 lead at the break after a 12-3 Missouri run to close the half.  

While the score remained close to start the second half, guard Aaron Estrada came out of the locker room ready to play, scoring 8 of the Crimson Tide’s first 10 points of the half. He finished with 21 points along with eight rebounds.  

Alabama dominated the boards in this one, finishing with a 35-23 rebounding advantage. Eleven of those rebounds came on the offensive glass, leading to 17 second-chance points.  

“We can be a great rebounding team if we put our mind to it,” Oats said. “That was definitely a point of emphasis going into this game like it will be at Tennessee.”  

It was a quiet game for guard Mark Sears, who finished with a season-low 9 points. Sears, who is coming off a career week in which he averaged 26.5 points and was named Co-SEC Player of the Week, took a smaller role as guards Estrada and Rylan Griffen shouldered most of the offensive load.  

Griffen scored 16 of his 21 in the second half, going 4-5 from downtown, fueling a 21-9 Crimson Tide run to end the game.  

“He [Nate Oats] came to the bench and told me I’ve got to get going for us if we’re going to win this game,” Griffen said. “He was talking mainly about the defensive end, so I got it going there and it opened up my offense.”  

Next, Alabama will look to gain its first win against a top 10 opponent this season when it faces No. 6 Tennessee in Knoxville on Saturday. The game will tip off at 1 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on ESPN2.  

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