After each Tiger game, we take a look at the highs and lows. Here's the report from Wednesday's 57-54 loss to Alabama.
TURNING POINT: A 10-2 Alabama run had tied the game at 47, but to that point, the Tigers hadn't trailed since the game's opening minutes. A ball was knocked out of bounds off (at least to the appearance of pretty much everyone but the official) Alabama underneath the Missouri basket with 4:51 to go. Sixteen seconds later, Dazon Ingram nailed a three from the left wing. Fifty seconds after that, he hit another one. Missouri was down 53-47 and fighting uphill the rest of the way. They would never get the game tied again.
IT WAS OVER WHEN: Terrence Phillips' halfcourt heave bounced off the iron at the buzzer. But Missouri's best chance came four seconds earlier. Braxton Key missed the front end of a one-and-one with 7.9 seconds left, but Alabama's Donta Hall grabbed the rebound, forcing Missouri to foul Ingram. He made both, forcing the Tigers--who were without a timeout--to take the desperation heave to try to force overtime.
CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM: They're still playing hard. This is big boy basketball and moral victories mean nothing. But this is a Tiger team that easily could have quit on the season and it hasn't. They're not good enough to win a lot of games. They make mistakes at bad times. But few who watch can come away believing the Tigers aren't giving everything they have.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN: The best stretch of the season still ends with two losses in four games. And Missouri's next two games are on the road (where they haven't won since January of 2014) and against Kentucky, (whom the Tigers have never beaten in nine tries).
STOCK UP: K.J. Walton continues to play well down the stretch. He had 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals in a very solid all-around game. He's even made a handful of three-pointers lately. You'd like to see him be perhaps a little more consistent from the free throw line, but he was 5-for-7 on Wednesday. His steal and ensuing three-point play got the Tigers back to within a point at 55-54, but Missouri could get no closer.
STOCK DOWN: Wearing home uniforms for a game in Nashville. A win in this one would have put Mizzou 3-10 and within spitting distance of 11th or 12th in the SEC, which would put them in white uniforms for the opening day of the SEC Tournament next month. But they are now three games out of 12th with just five to play and lose the tiebreaker to both teams above them. So it's gonna be a "road" game on the first day of the conference tourney.
UP NEXT: Missouri (7-18, 2-11 SEC) faces Tennessee (14-12, 6-7) at 12 noon on Saturday in Knoxville. The Volunteers lost 83-58 at Kentucky on Tuesday.