The Maneater

Missouri turns Tide to snap three-game skid

Kassius Robertson scored 22, and Jeremiah Tilmon was perfect from the field in the much-needed road win.

Graduate transfer Kassius Robertson watches his shot go in during the Showdown for Relief against Kansas on Oct. 22

In the heart of a two-week stretch that has ravaged the Missouri men’s basketball program with uncertainty, graduate transfer Kassius Robertson reminded a discouraged team and fanbase of one thing that’s certain: When he’s hot, he can hit anything.

Robertson scored 22 points Wednesday night to steer the Tigers to a desperately needed 69-60 road win at Alabama. A 9-2 run midway through the second half snapped a 44-44 tie and gave Missouri (14-8, 4-5 SEC) the cushion it needed the rest of the way to snap a three-game losing skid.

The Crimson Tide went stale in the second half, shooting 2 for 13 from beyond the arc and missing several open looks down the stretch that could have closed the gap while Missouri suffered from a Jeremiah Tilmon-less offense.

The freshman center was dominant while he was around — he went 6 for 6 from the field for 12 points with three rebounds — but as usual, he wasn’t around often. After a graceful spin move and slam, he picked up his fourth and fifth fouls on back-to-back trips to disqualify himself with over five minutes left.

It didn’t phase the Mizzou defense. Alabama couldn’t get it closer than 7.

Robertson went 4 of 8 from deep, including some circus shots, to provide the offensive exclamation points, while Tilmon was the steady hand underneath throughout.

But Missouri’s recent reputation for ice-cold starts seemed fated to continue when Tilmon picked up his first foul a minute in while the team struggled to get its first basket.

For once, those struggles were short-lived.

The Tigers jumped out to a double-digit lead with help from consecutive Robertson 3-pointers early on. Leading a depleted backcourt, he guided Mizzou as the lead stretched to 31-19 with five minutes left in the half. That quickly diminished as the Tide sliced it to a one-possession game before Missouri went into the half up by 2.

Alabama picked up where it left off after the intermission, and Mizzou was sluggish out of the gate, but the Tide could never get over the summit to take a lead.

The unexpected triumph might have been a season-salvager for the time being, but Missouri has a quick turnaround before a crucial Saturday home game against No. 21 Kentucky at 1 p.m.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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