Jordan Clarkson took a seemingly innocuous fall. When the junior guard sprung back up and adjusted his shoe, he led Missouri (14-3, 2-2 SEC) on a 14-2 run to hold off Alabama (8-9, 2-2 SEC) in a 68-47 win Saturday.
His crossover on AU’s Trevor Releford moments after a Crimson Tide bucket caused Releford to lose his shoe and gave the Tigers the juice to open larger margin. Junior guard Jabari Brown’s layup opened the run two minutes later.
Clarkson finished with 16 points and five steals and helped Brown score six points over that span. Brown scored with a game and career-high 24 on 7-of-9 shooting. He dropped an equally impressive 22 Thursday at Vanderbilt.
“I felt in a good rhythm out there, and my teammates did a good job feeding me the ball in good spots,” Brown said.
After misfiring 30 seconds into the game, he didn’t miss again until two minutes into the second half.
“He’s in a nice groove right now,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said.
Freshman forward Johnathan Williams III was one point away his third double-double of the year with nine points and 14 rebounds. Senior guard Earnest Ross added 12 and seven, respectively.
Mizzou struggled to score early with Clarkson benched through the first half with foul trouble. After MU opened the game on a 7-0 run, Alabama took over the advantage with a 12-2 burst of its own.
“We just had to be steady on offense,” Brown said.
A free throw from Ross and a tough jumper in the paint from Williams gave the Tigers a one-point lead at the half that only grew.
Clarkson scored the first four points of the second half and after a Releford lay in, the Tigers launched a salvo of offense, mounting a 22-point lead late in the game.
Defensively, Missouri allowed its fewest points of the year, switching between a sturdy man-to-man scheme and an agile 3-2 zone.
“I think our guys are understanding to be able to do both makes us a better team,” Haith said.
The Tide shot a dismal 17.4 percent from the field in the second half and 29.2 percent on the game.
Releford, who scored 26 points on 8-of-14 shooting a year ago, was held to 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting Saturday. He fouled out with 1:24 to play.
“I thought our team defense was outstanding on Releford,” Haith said. “We understand how good a player he is.”
Haith said his team practiced to keep “six eyes” on Releford wherever he was on the floor.
“He’s one of the best players in our league and he’s capable to go for 20 or 30 every time,” Brown said. “We just had to key in on him and know where he was at all times.”