TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — There wasn’t a lot for the home crowd to cheer for during Alabama’s 68-56 victory over the Missouri Tigers on Wednesday night, but Riley Norris did his best to keep the crowd in it with 11 first-half points.
“It doesn’t surprise me to see him have a great first half like that,” teammate Braxton Key said. “We were just joking around I think we traded roles: I was the slasher at the beginning of the season, now he’s taking it to the basket, getting to the free throw line and I’m the 3-point specialist.”
Both teams struggled to score in the first half thanks in part to turnovers (11 for Missouri and seven for Alabama (11-6, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) and poor shooting. The Tigers (5-12, 0-5) shot 6 of 20 from the floor in the first half, and Alabama players not named Norris shot 6 of 24 over the same stretch.
Terrence Phillips led the Tigers with 16 points and seven assists and Russell Woods had 13 points. Early in the second half the duo helped the Tigers close the gap to four after they combined to score seven points in a minute of play, but Dazon Ingram responded with back-to-back 3s that helped the Alabama remain in front in the second half.
“(Those 3s were) killer,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. “We went to the zone and they overloaded it on us and we couldn’t get out of it fast enough. We were hoping they would continue shooting like they did the first half, but obviously they didn’t.”
Key also made a pair of 3s in the second half to help the Crimson Tide finish the half 6 of 12 beyond the arc. Avery Johnson Jr. scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half.
“They weren’t looking at me trying to get a play called,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said of his team after the game. “They took some responsibility and I like the way the ball was moving in the second half and we were ready to shoot and we took quality shots both inside and outside the 3-point line.”