- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - There wasn’t a lot for the home crowd to cheer for during Alabama’s 68-56 victory over the Missouri Tigers on Wednesday night, but Riley Norris did his best to keep the crowd in it with 11 first-half points.

“It doesn’t surprise me to see him have a great first half like that,” teammate Braxton Key said. “We were just joking around I think we traded roles: I was the slasher at the beginning of the season, now he’s taking it to the basket, getting to the free throw line and I’m the 3-point specialist.”

Both teams struggled to score in the first half thanks in part to turnovers (11 for Missouri and seven for Alabama (11-6, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) and poor shooting. The Tigers (5-12, 0-5) shot 6 of 20 from the floor in the first half, and Alabama players not named Norris shot 6 of 24 over the same stretch.

Terrence Phillips led the Tigers with 16 points and seven assists and Russell Woods had 13 points. Early in the second half the duo helped the Tigers close the gap to four after they combined to score seven points in a minute of play, but Dazon Ingram responded with back-to-back 3s that helped the Alabama remain in front in the second half.

“(Those 3s were) killer,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. “We went to the zone and they overloaded it on us and we couldn’t get out of it fast enough. We were hoping they would continue shooting like they did the first half, but obviously they didn’t.”

Key also made a pair of 3s in the second half to help the Crimson Tide finish the half 6 of 12 beyond the arc. Avery Johnson Jr. scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half.

“They weren’t looking at me trying to get a play called,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said of his team after the game. “They took some responsibility and I like the way the ball was moving in the second half and we were ready to shoot and we took quality shots both inside and outside the 3-point line.”

BIG PICTURE

Alabama: The Crimson Tide followed its most dominant victory over an SEC opponent this season - a 15-point victory at LSU on Saturday - with a win over Missouri to keep the team near the top of the SEC standings.

Missouri: The Tigers lost a true road game for the third time this season.

HE SAID IT

Missouri coach Kim Anderson on the game: “I thought it was a fairly ugly basketball game, which is kind of the way we wanted it to be. You got to give a lot of credit to Alabama. First half they struggled from the field, second half they came out and made some key shots.”

FRESHMAN STANDOUT

Two fouls limited Alabama’s Braxton Key to a team-low five minutes in the first half, but he made up for lost time in the second half with 11 points and five rebounds.

UP NEXT

Alabama: The Crimson Tide hits the road this weekend to take on in-state rival Auburn on Saturday in the first of two matchups this season.

Missouri: The Tigers will seek to bounce back at home on Saturday when they host an Ole Miss team that is currently 1-3 in true road games this season.

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