Nashville, Tenn. – Fourth-ranked Alabama used a late push to earn a 72-61 victory over the No. 25 Missouri men’s basketball team in the SEC Tournament Semifinals on Saturday. The Tigers now look toward the NCAA Tournament with a 24-9 overall record, while Alabama advances to the conference championship with a 28-5 mark.
Graduate student D’Moi Hodge led all scorers with his second-straight 20-point game, chipping in 21 points on Saturday. The guard made 7-of-11 field goals (3-of-6 from 3-point range), while also adding nine rebounds on the day.
Graduate student DeAndre Gholston and senior Noah Carter also scored in double figures with 17 and 10 points, respectively.
The Crimson Tide started the game strong and grabbed an early double-digit advantage only for the Tigers to respond late in the half. Leading by one, 13-12, Alabama used an 11-2 spurt for a 24-14 advantage as the Tigers made just six of their first 25 field goals. Mizzou, however, regrouped and made six of its final eight shots during a 13-5 run – capped a turnaround 3-pointer from Hodge with 1.8 ticks left – as Alabama held a slight two-point edge at the break, 31-29.
The momentum carried over for the Tigers early in the second half as they tallied the first six points of the frame for a four-point edge. Mizzou would hold the lead for the first seven minutes of the period before the first of two 8-0 Alabama runs pushed the top seed in front. Overall, the Tide made 13 of their final 18 field goals, which included 6-of-7 from 3-point range, during the final 14 minutes of the game.
Mizzou made 33.8 percent of its field goals on the day, while Alabama finished with a shooting mark of 49.1 percent. The Tigers were able to keep the game close thanks to forcing 17 Crimson Tide turnovers, while committing just five of their own.
The Tigers now turn their attention toward the NCAA Tournament, where they will find out their spot in the bracket on Sunday night at 5 p.m.