Alabama is one of the toughest teams in the country. The Crimson Tide ranked sixth in the nation in scoring, averaging 82.8 points per game and had an offensive efficiency rating of 115.8 points per 100 possessions, ranking 21st in the nation, according to KenPom.
The team eliminated Missouri from the SEC Tournament on Saturday, defeating the Tigers 72–61. But the defensive performance by Mizzou was remarkable. The 72 points Alabama scored were tied for third fewest in any of their victories this season.
“We were definitely trying to make his catches difficult, increasing his catches, you know, trying not to let him get comfortable on the 3-point line,” the senior forward kobe brown Said. “We knew they didn’t want to take as many layups, so we tried to force them to the rim and take away their kick-outs so they had nothing.”
The Crimson Tide has taken a high amount of shots from outside throughout the year. Trey makes up 47.6% of the team’s field goal attempts, which ranks eighth in the NCAA, and is responsible for 36.5% of the points scored this year, which ranks 34th.
Mizzou did everything it could to make sure Alabama didn’t get too hot from afar. The Crimson Tide missed its first 10 triples to open Saturday’s game. They went just 2-15 from deep heading into halftime.
“That was our game plan,” the senior guard deandre gholston Said. “You know, that team thrives on 3-point shots, as everyone knows. So we wanted to stay up, stay on switches and things like that just to take 3s. In the second half, We kind of fell behind, kind of left some 3s in. They pushed a little bit more in transition and that hurt us, that hurt us.
Alabama missed their first five 3-point attempts to start the second half, allowing the Tigers to take a small lead. But the Crimson Tide hit all of its next six 3’s by double digits. freshman forward brandon miller And noah clany headed for the team, with each player going 3-6. Missouri could not keep pace, with the team going through its own struggles with the perimeter, shooting 7-25 from long range.
“Brandon Miller is a great player,” MU head coach dennis gates Said. “I thought in the first half, we did a good job staying out of the rotation, meaning we weren’t allowing ourselves to miss those 3s. In the second half, he was able to get the end of a rotation, Which means whether it was a two-pass rotation, a three-pass rotation, and when we were scrambling the reward was wide-open shots. His teammates worked hard to find him. He did a great job. Ultimately, I thought they did a better job than us of conceding more runs that they were a part of. Nothing that I didn’t think they could do originally. I thought we did better in the first half than the second half Well done.”
Once the team has an idea of who will play in the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday, the Tigers should have another opportunity to show off their superior defense.
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