No. 10 Missouri whips Alabama in SEC debut
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Jabari Brown hit a career-high five straight 3-pointers after an early miss and Phil Pressey responded from a shaky first half with 11 points and 13 assists, leading No. 10 Missouri to an 84-68 victory over Alabama in its SEC debut Tuesday night.
Trevor Releford had a career-best 26 points with three 3-pointers and topped 1,000 points for Alabama (8-6, 0-1), which has lost six of eight. Coach Anthony Grant lost for the first time in seven career conference openers, three at VCU and four at Alabama.
Missouri's Laurence Bowers injured his right knee with about 5 minutes to go when Pressey fell on his leg under the basket. He will undergo an MRI for what coach Frank Haith believed was an MCL sprain. Bowers had 12 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes.
Brown scored a career high 22 points on 7-for-11 overall shooting, three days after making only one of nine attempts in a two-point victory over Bucknell. The Oregon transfer has scored in double figures four of five games since becoming eligible at the semester break.
Earnest Ross added a season-best 19 points for Missouri (12-2, 1-0) and Alex Oriakhi helped the Tigers pull away with 10 of his 16 points over the final 11 minutes, and he grabbed 11 rebounds. Oriakhi powered for two inside baskets in a 9-2 run that put the Tigers up 62-51 with 9 minutes to go and Alabama got no closer than six points the rest of the way.
Releford, who is from Kansas City and was recruited by Missouri, scored 19 points in the first half to top his average of 15.6. But he took just one shot over the first 8 minutes of the second half. The junior is the 46th player in school history to score 1,000 points but just the seventh with 1,000 points and 140 steals.
Pressey had eight assists in the first half, largely negated by four turnovers including two giveaways in a span of just over a minute. One was so glaring he grabbed Levi Randolph for an intentional foul.
Missouri survived those mistakes behind 6-for-10 3-point shooting, with Brown going 3 for 4 and Ross 2 for 2.
Alabama's best stretch was a 12-0 run for a 19-17 lead, with two baskets apiece from Releford and Pollard.