Noah Clowney’s best play in an Alabama uniform helps Tide finish Missouri Hex

Noah Clowney needed a day like this. So does Alabama basketball.

Clowney ended a two-game scoring slump on Saturday and compiled his best statistical performance in a Crimson Tide jersey to lead Alabama to an 85-64 win in Missouri. The win ended the Tide’s road troubles against the Tigers and marked their first win at the Mizzou Arena since 2019.

Earning Alabama’s Hard Hat Award, Clowney recorded 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds accompanied by a steal. The 6-foot-10 freshman, affectionately nicknamed “Stretch” by his teammates, dominated the boards early and capitalized on an advantage when a Missouri team missed their star forward Kobe Brown with an ankle injury.

Clowney secured his second double-double of the season less than a minute into the second half. At this point he already had 12 points on 5 of 8 shots. He finished the night 6 of 11 from the floor and 5 of 7 from the free throw line. He also had five team-high offensive rebounds that contributed to Tide’s 21 second-chance points that night.

“He played pretty well for us,” said Alabama head coach Nate Oats. “There’s a reason he’s playing as many minutes as he has this year.”

Saturday’s performance is not an anomaly. Clowney has won SEC Freshman of the Week twice this season, averaging 9.9 points and 8.6 rebounds in 18 games. However, the freshman was able to rebound from a slight offensive slump after averaging 11 points on 3 of 13 shots in his last two games against LSU and Vanderbilt.

Perhaps even more encouraging is the fact that his numbers could have been even better. Without Brown, Clowney spent much of his 28 minutes on the floor trying to get a faster Missouri lineup. That caused him to suffer a couple of blocked shots with unusually poor results.

“He missed a few on the fringes that I thought he normally would have or could have done, but he’s playing tough minutes. He probably got a little tired chasing guards out there while we were exchanging so much stuff.”

Still, 17 points and 14 rebounds is a stat line the Crimson Tide will take any day. Such is an 86-64 win.

Saturday’s win makes Alabama (17-2, 7-0 SEC) the only undefeated team in the SEC game after Texas A&M lost to Kentucky earlier in the day. The Crimson Tide will look to build on their perfect run Wednesday as they look to win against Mississippi State in the regular season at the Coleman Coliseum.

Alabama opened conference play with a 78-67 win over the Bulldogs in Starkville, Mississippi on December 28. Clowney had 12 points and eight rebounds while also recording one blocked shot and one steal.