Missouri closes regular season with a 69-50 victory over Alabama
Dru Smith scored 17 points to lead Missouri to a 69-50 victory over Alabama in the regular-season finale for both teams Saturday.
Mark Smith scored 13 points for the Tigers (15-16, 7-11 Southeastern Conference), Mitchell Smith added 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field and Jeremiah Tilmon finished with eight points and nine rebounds. Missouri slowed the pace to its liking and held Alabama 33 points under its season scoring average.
Kira Lewis Jr. led the Crimson Tide (16-15, 8-10) with 18 points, Jaden Shackelford scored 13 and Galin Smith added 10.
Both teams played brutal offense in the first half, as each committed 12 turnovers. Missouri emerged with a 21-20 lead.
The Tigers went on a 10-0 run midway through the second half to take a 44-37 lead. They capped the run when Mitchell Smith saved a loose ball from going out of bounds and passed ahead to Javon Pickett, who scored and drew a foul.
John Petty Jr. returned for Alabama after missing the last two games with an elbow injury. Petty, who averages 15 points, scored one point in 34 minutes.
Missouri: The Tigers said goodbye to their lone senior, Reed Nikko. The 6-foot-10 center was a role player for most of his career but became a heavy contributor in the second half of his senior season, scoring double figures four times in SEC play. He scored three points and grabbed three rebounds against Alabama.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide lost for the fourth time in their last six games. Hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament are long gone. Alabama, which entered Saturday ranked 50th in the NCAA’s NET power rankings, could still be in the mix for the NIT.
Missouri: The Tigers’ seed and opening opponent in this week’s SEC Tournament depended on the outcome of games later Saturday. They could be seeded 10th or 11th.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide have a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament and will begin play Thursday as either the ninth or 10th seed.