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Missouri men's basketball grabbed an early lead Saturday evening in Tuscaloosa and led by as many as 14 points.
But Alabama wouldn't go away.
The Crimson Tide ripped and roared their way back, closing the game on an 18-5 run. Jaden Shackelford hit a key 3-pointer to put Alabama up six, and a defensive stop made it a game of free throws.
Alabama won 86-76 at home to drop the Tigers to 8-10 overall and 2-4 in the Southeastern Conference.
Boogie Coleman scored 17 points to lead four Tigers who finished in double figures.
Fouls undid a game where the Tigers' offensive potency had rhythm that Alabama couldn't stop, especially early on.
"I've never been one to complain about how the game flows or how it's officiated," Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said. "I'm proud of the toughness and fight."
Missouri led 14-3 early and pushed its lead to 19-7 through the first two media timeouts. The Tigers were scoring at will and forcing turnovers that put Alabama on its heels.
The Tide fought back to tie it at 25, but the Tigers took a 40-36 lead into halftime.
That brought on the flurry that was the second half.
A 10-4 run to open the second half put Missouri up by 14 points, before the two teams kept trading baskets.
The Tide tied the game with over five minutes to go and took a lead with 4:37 left.
After holding a 69-59 advantage with 9:17 remaining, Missouri was outscored 27-7.
Alabama used a 7-0 run over 1:36 to take the lead. With four minutes left in the game, four Tigers had at least four fouls. Guard DaJuan Gordon eventually fouled out, as Missouri was whistled for 23 fouls to Alabama's 13.
Alabama shot 29 free throws, making 21, while Missouri made 3 of 5 attempts.
"I'm trying to be as respectful as I can as I say this," Martin said. "Man, five free throws in a physical game where both team played man-to-man in the SEC?"
Coleman said the foul trouble played a role in the Tide's second-half comeback, as Alabama's defense was already stopping the Tigers' offense. The fouls kept Missouri from being aggressive, he said.
"(The officials) had some where they could've let us keep playing," Coleman said. "They were letting them play on the other side."
Fouls added a depth problem for Missouri as freshman forward Trevon Brazile was injured on the first possession of the second half, but Martin said after the game that Brazile went to the bench as a scheme decision.
Alabama went with a five-guard lineup, and Martin wanted to counter that with a smaller lineup of his own.
Brazile came back into the game with 2:04 left and made a 3 to cut Alabama's lead to just three. That was the last field goal Missouri hit on the night.
While Brazile was out, Alabama owned the rebounding battle, especially the offensive glass. That led to 50 second-half points for Alabama.
Alabama outrebounded the Tigers 23-14 on the offensive glass and 44-30 overall.
It was a difficult loss to swallow after Missouri's win over Alabama on Jan. 8.
Tigers freshman enters portal midseason
Missouri redshirt freshman forward Sean Durugordon announced his intention to transfer Friday evening.
The 6-foot-7 guard was the fourth-best recruit in the state of Connecticut and an early enrollee last January.
Durugordon played 65 total minutes in 12 games this season. He averaged 3.2 points per game and scored a season-high 11 points in Missouri's 102-65 loss to Kansas.
The transfer takes away post depth, but it opens a scholarship for the Tigers to offer entering the 2022 season.
Success beyond the arc
Even though Missouri shot only five free throws all game — its fewest since Feb. 9, 2019, against Texas A&M — the Tigers continued their recent offensive success.
Missouri hit a season-high 11 3-pointers and shot above 40% from beyond the arc for the second straight game.
Saturday was Missouri’s first loss of the season when scoring 70 or more points. The Tigers are 6-1 when scoring 70 or more.
Brazile continues to shine
Of all the changes MU saw this past offseason, Brazile has made waves as a freshman.
The Kickapoo alum had two blocks Saturday to record his ninth consecutive game with multiple blocks. It was also his tenth straight with at least one block.
Brazile slid into sole possession of sixth place all-time in blocks by a Tigers freshman. Brazile has recorded 26 blocks on the season.
Chris Kwiecinski is the sports editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune, overseeing University of Missouri and Boone County sports coverage. Follow him on Twitter @OchoK_ and contact him at CKwiecinsk@gannett.com or 435-414-3261.
This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: Mizzou falls to Alabama 86-76 after squandering 14-point lead