Kevin Puryear goes up strong against Alabama (photo/Mizzou Athletics)

Mizzou played great defense in the first half, got the benefit of a very cold shooting Alabama team that started the second half missing their first shots. At that point, the Crimson Tide were 5-of-29 shooting, but the Tigers held just a seven-point lead with just under 17 minutes to play.

Alabama grabbed an offensive rebound and then hit a three pointer to cut the lead to four.  From that point on, it was a battle and it turned into a second half where the Tigers failed to execute late.

Missouri’s modest two-game home winning streak came to an end with a 57-54 loss on Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena.

“You can’t really hide behind the youth movement,” said Missouri coach Kim Anderson.  “25 games in, we practiced it and guys knew what to do…we just didn’t do it.”

It took Alabama 23 minutes and 31 seconds to make their first seven field goals of the game.  Down the stretch, the Tide made seven of their final nine shots while Mizzou went cold. After a Frankie Hughes three-pointer put the Tigers up 42-37 with 8:37 to play, the Tigers went 2-for-10 the rest of the game.

The Tigers were led by sophomore guard K.J. Walton with a team-best 12 points and season-high three assists. He also had two steals. Sophomore forward Kevin Puryear had 11 points and five rebounds. Junior forward Jordan Barnett was shut down being held to just five points on 2-for-10 shooting, but he did have a team high 12 rebounds.

Missouri had a 23-18 edge in rebounding after the first half, and ended up trailing 39-36 for the game.