Nov 20, 2001
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Fifth-ranked MISSOURI lost Kareem Rush midway through the second half. Then the Tigers lost the lead - but only for a short time.
Clarence Gilbert scored 18 points and MISSOURI beat No. 22 Alabama 75-68 Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Guardians Classic.
Rush, a preseason All-America pick, missed the final 7:50 after being hit in the face by an inadvertent elbow from Alabama's Demetrius Smith.
Rush, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half, was helped from the Kemper Arena court and to the dressing room. He returned to the bench for the final minutes, holding an ice pack over his left eye.
"It swelled up really fast," MISSOURI coach Quin Snyder said. "He was a little dizzy. He was scared. He took a shot. It wasn't an intentional thing."
Rush, who had a huge knot over his eye, was taken to a hospital after the game for a precautionary X-ray. It is unknown whether he will be able to play Wednesday night against No. 9 Iowa in the championship game. Iowa defeated No.12 Memphis 75-71 to advance.
The Crimson Tide (2-1) took advantage of Rush's absence to take a brief 63-61 lead with 5:10 left, which was their first edge since being ahead 11-10.
The Tigers (3-0) regained the lead on Travnon Bryan's follow shot with 2:45 left and outscored the Crimson Tide 10-3 in the final three minutes. Alabama missed four free throws in the final 18 seconds.
Arthur Johnson contributed 12 points for MISSOURI.
Rod Gizzard led the Crimson Tide with 18 points and Maurice Williams had 12 points.
MISSOURI will play No. 9 Iowa, which defeated No. 12 Memphis 75-71 in the other semifinal, in the championship game Wednesday night.
The Tigers were just 1-for-10 on 3-point shots in the second half. They went more than nine minutes without a field goal as the Crimson Tide came from 12 points down to tie it at 60 with 6:49 left.
MISSOURI led by as many as 15 points, 33-18 with 8:59 left after a basket by Johnson.
"Games like this expose you," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "MISSOURI put us on our heels in the first half. We had to be more aggressive."