Levi Steals Show In Bama's Big Win
There was first half drama when Releford went out of the game with an injury just over two minutes after play had begun. Releford went for a steal and came out limping. He returned a few minutes later though and soon after had a three-point shot that tied the game at 13-13.
More important, when Releford went out, Randolph came in for him. Randolph wasn't one of the Chosen Five from Alabama's depleted roster of eight scholarshipped players, but he almost single-handedly gave the Tide a runaway advantage in one of those routine basketball statistics: Bench Scoring – Alabama 36, Missouri 7.
Randolph scored a career-high 33 points – 13 more than his previous high -- as Alabama improved its record to 11-16, including a 5-9 record in Southeastern Conference games. Missouri, an NCAA Tournament hopeful, fell to 19-8, including 7-7 in the SEC.
Alabama finishes February with its fifth road game of the month when the Tide goes to Ole Miss Wednesday. Bama defeated the Rebels, 67-64, in Tuscaloosa on Feb. 11.
Randolph finished with 38 minutes played. He connected on 11-15 field goal attempts, including 5-7 treys, and made 6-7 free throws for his 33 points. He had 19 points in the first half and made three treys and a slam dunk in the second half.
Randolph's dead-eye shooting helped Bama to a 27-47 night on field goals, 57.4 per cent. The Tide made 10-21 three-pointers, 47.6 per cent. Only at the free throw line was Alabama off the mark, making 16-29, 55.2 per cent.
Meanwhile, Alabama held Missouri to 23-48 from the field (47.9 per cent) and 5-16 on three-pointers (31.3 per cent). The Tigers made 22-29 foul shots (75.9 per cent).
Missouri was a big winner in the rebounding battle, 36-24, including 13 offensive boards for the Tigers. But Bama had only 8 turnovers, Missouri had 16. Bama scored 19 points off turnovers, Missouri 12. The Tide also had a 104 advantage in fast break points and a 30-26 margin in the paint.
In addition to Randolph, Releford scored 18 points and had six assists.
Missouri was led by Earnest Ross with 25, Jabari Brown with 23, and Jordan Clarkson with 14.
The theme of the night was set by Randolph in the first half. His drive and leaner and a foul shot tied the game at 16. Moments later he grabbed a loose ball and went coast-to-coast for a jam that gave the Tide the lead for good in the first period.
Releford made a trey off the backboard for a 21-16 Tide lead and then turned it over to Randolph. Randolph got an assist from Releford on the baseline. He was fouled and made two free throws. Retin Obasohan grabbed a long rebound and zipped it to Randolph who jammed it home for his 11th point and a 27-21 lead.
After Missouri scored a couple of free throws, Randolph drilled back-to-back three-pointers to make it 33-23.
Algie Key helped out with a putback and a couple of free throws and an assist to Rodney Cooper for a short jumper. Releford drove the baseline for a beat-the-shot-clock score.
Bama closed out the half with Releford dealing to Randolph for a jam, his 19th point of the period, and a 42-35 Bama lead at intermission.
The Tide had shot 59.3 per cent from the field and 45.5 per cent on three-point shots.
It took Randolph and Alabama only seconds to keep the pressure on Missouri after halftime. Releford took the inbounds pass, whipped it to Randolph in the corner, and he buried a three for a 45-35 lead.
Although Alabama had something of a yo-yo lead, Missouri was never able to catch up. Bama would go up by as many as 11 in the early going, but let that lead slip to a single point at 61-60 with seven minutes to play. But then Alabama had two big trips.
Carl Engstrom grabbed an offensive rebound, got the ball to Releford, and Releford put it in the hands of Rodney Cooper at the basket. Seconds later, Retin Obasohan made a steal and was fouled and made two free throws to get the lead back to five.
After a Randolph three-pointer made it 68-63, Randolph returned the assist favors to Relevord with a dish for a trey and a 71-63 lead with just over four minutes to play.
Although the Tide was a little tense in closing it out, close it out they did; and punctuated it with Cooper grabbing a loose ball, throwing ahead to Randolph, and Levi slammed it down for the final Tide points in the final minute.
TIDE NOTES: With eight scholarshipped players to choose from, Alabama's starting lineup was Trevor Releford and Retin Obasohan at guards, Shannon Hale and Rodney Cooper at forwards, and Jimmie Taylor at center.
Randolph's previous career-high was 20 points against North Florida.
Alabama improved its all-time record against Missouri to 5-3 and broke a three-game losing streak to the Tigers, including a 21-point loss (68-47) in Columbia on Jan. 18.
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