Alabama Falls to Kentucky in SEC Tournament Quarterfinals, 85-59
The Alabama men’s basketball team fell to No. 16 Kentucky, 85-59, on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. The Tide entered the tournament as the No. 10 seed and defeated seventh-seeded Ole Miss on Thursday night, but could not overcome the Wildcats’ hot shooting from beyond the arc en route to the defeat.
Senior guard Arthur Edwards finished the night 7-of-12 from the field and 6-of-10 from beyond the arc, as he led the Tide with a career-high 20 points. Senior guard Retin Obasohan finished with 18 points – 17 coming in the second half alone. Sophomore forward Riley Norris led the team in rebounding for the 11th time this year, pulling down seven rebounds.
After the Tide hit 12-of-24 from three-point range in Thursday’s win over the Rebels, Alabama connected on just 9-of-26 (34.6 percent) from deep on Friday. Meanwhile, Kentucky had the hot shooting hand from beyond the arc, hitting 13-of-22 (59.1 percent) of its threes. Alabama entered the contest second in the SEC in three-point field goal percentage.
“First, I want to congratulate Kentucky,” head coach Avery Johnson said. “They played an outstanding game on both ends of the floor. We haven't had much success with them this year. This is our third loss to them. They were energized. They were ready to play. Coach Cal has done a nice job with a balanced team, some young guys, some older veterans. We've got to take our hats off to them. They were ready to play. They pressured us all night long, and we were on our heels. So congratulations to them. We hope that not only Kentucky but a few other teams really move forward as it relates to the NCAA Tournament.”
Kentucky (24-8) used two big, second-half runs to take control of the game. The Wildcats used an early 9-0 run to extend their halftime lead, taking a 55-37 lead with 13:43to play. Alabama managed to cut the lead to 11 points, trailing 60-49 with 10 minutes on the clock, but would never get any closer. A 14-2 run gave Kentucky an 83-57 lead with just 2:14 on the clock. Seven of Kentucky’s 13 three-pointers came in the second half.
Alabama (18-14) took its only lead of the game in the first half on the back of a 7-0 run over 1:38 to take a 12-10 lead at the 12:15 mark. Kentucky immediately answered with an 11-0 run of its own to take a 24-15 lead with 5:40 left in the first half. Edwards had 14 points in the first half, but the Tide struggled, shooting just 38 percent from the field. The Wildcats took a 37-27 lead into the locker room.
Jamal Murray led Kentucky with 23 points. Alex Poythress finished with 20 points and made four three-pointers after making just two all season. Poythress led the team with seven rebounds.
The Tide will now await its postseason fate, which will be determined Sunday night.
“I think our resume is solid,” Johnson said. “We're playing in a tough conference, where a lot of teams didn't win a lot on the road this year. We played well at home. There’s a lot of parity in the conference. So whether that's NCAA or NIT, I don’t know. Two weeks ago, we were supposedly on the bubble, right? Or we were the last four in. I'll put our resume up against any team in the country or any of those teams that's on the bubble watch. I really love our resume. So whether it's NCAA Tournament, NIT, or whatever it is, I'm hoping that we can make it to some postseason tournament.
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