Noah Clowney needed a day like that. So was basketball in Alabama.
Clowney ended a two-game scoring slump on Saturday, posting his best statistical performance in a Crimson Tide uniform to lead Alabama to an 85-64 victory in Missouri. The win ended the Tide’s road troubles against the Tigers and marked the first win at the Mizzou Arena since 2019.
Clowney earned Alabama’s Hard Hat Award, with 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds to go with a steal. Affectionately dubbed “Stretch” by his teammates, the six-foot freshman dominated the boards early on, taking advantage of a Missouri team missing its star forward Kobe Brown to an ankle injury.
Clowney secured his second double-double of the season less than a minute into the second half. At that time, he already had 12 points on 5 out of 8 shootings. He finished the night 6 of 11 from the floor and 5 of 7 from the free throw line. He also had a team-high five offensive rebounds that contributed to the Tide’s 21 rebound points on the night.
“He’s played pretty well for us,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “There’s a reason he’s playing as many minutes as he’s played this year.”
Saturday’s performance is no anomaly. Clowney has already won SEC Freshman of the Week twice this season and has averaged 9.9 points and 8.6 rebounds in 18 games. However, the freshman managed to emerge from a mild offensive slump after totaling 11 points on 3 of 13 shots in his previous two games against LSU and Vanderbilt.
Perhaps even more encouraging is the fact that his numbers could have been even better. With Brown out, Clowney spent much of his 28 minutes on the floor corralling a faster Missouri lineup. That led to him getting a few blocked shots on unusually poor finishes.
“He missed a few on the edges that I normally thought he would have made or could have made, but he plays tough minutes. He probably got a little tired, chasing guards while we switched so many things.
Still, 17 points and 14 rebounds is a stat the Crimson Tide can take any day. So also an 86-64 victory.
Saturday’s win makes Alabama (17-2, 7-0 in the SEC) the only undefeated team in SEC play after Texas A&M’s loss to Kentucky earlier in the day. The Crimson Tide will try to improve on its perfect run Wednesday when it looks set to make a regular season sweep against Mississippi State at Coleman Coliseum.
Alabama opened conference play with a 78-67 victory over the Bulldogs in Starkville, Mississippi on December 28. Clowney had 12 points and eight rebounds, while also recording a blocked shot and a steal.