University of Missouri

Alabama coach praises Trevor Releford’s toughness

First half

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Key play:

With 4 seconds left, Alabama reserve guard Levi Randolph threw down his third dunk of the first half. He finished with 19 first-half points, including 12 in a row at one stretch for the Crismon Tide.

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Key stat:

Alabama shot 59 percent, making 16 of 27 shots and five of 11 from three-point range in building a 42-35 lead.

Second half

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Key play:

Senior Trevor Releford’s three-pointer with 4:08 left. Missouri closed within one point a few minutes earlier, but threes by Randolph and then Releford’s dagger pushed the lead back to 71-63.

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Key stat:

Missouri trailed 63-60 approaching the six-minute mark, but any comeback effort stalled because of six Tigers’ turnovers in the final 6:11.

Injured Releford rebounds

Barely two minutes into an 80-73 victory against Missouri, Releford, the former Bishop Miege star, limped off the court and briefly headed toward the locker room.

It wasn’t exactly a Willis Reed moment, but Releford’s return four minutes later despite a right thigh contusion undoubtedly buoyed the spirits of his Crimson Tide teammates.

“Trevor played completely on guts and heart tonight,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “He took a knee to the lower thigh, right above his knee. He was nowhere near 100 percent, so he played on just guts.”

Releford, who scored a season-low 10 points on four of 16 shooting in a loss last month at Mizzou Arena, finished with 18 points and a season-high six assists.

“We had many conversations during the course of the game and kind of had to change what we wanted to do defensively, because he couldn’t move and maneuver,” Grant said. “Even offensively, there were some things we weren’t able to do, because he was limited. But he played on great heart.”

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