Alabama Men’s Basketball Suffers Late Loss to Auburn, 82-77
The Alabama men’s basketball team fell late to Auburn, 82-77, in front of a sellout Coleman Coliseum crowd on Saturday night. The Tide trailed by 14 points with just over two minutes to play and was able to cut the lead to three, but the Tigers connected on four free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
Auburn was able to pull away because if its three-point shooting. The Tigers shot 56 percent from beyond the arc and connected on 15 three-pointers (15-of-27), which were the most allowed by Alabama this season. As a result, Auburn snapped a seven-game losing streak to Alabama at Coleman Coliseum and swept the Crimson Tide for the first time since 2009.
Freshman Braxton Key and senior Corban Collins each scored a game-high 17 points. Redshirt freshman Dazon Ingram ended the night with 16 points, five rebounds and a career-high five steals in the loss.
“Tonight we weren’t at our best on the defensive end, especially defending the three-point line,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “We are a much better defensive team then we showed tonight in front of a capacity crowd that gave us their all. We just didn’t give them our all. We started off the game lethargic. We had some of the most uncharacteristic turnovers I have ever seen. In terms of just giving them the ball, it wasn’t anything to do with their defense in that situation. Give them credit, they made three-point shots.
“We finally decided to go absolutely small, play without a center and just try and trap and, boy, our team showed a lot of heart, a lot of character. Our crowd did not give up on us, most of our fans were still in the building and we appreciate that, but our guys fought hard. I am really proud of the way our guys fought back. I learned a little bit more about this team every day, but we just cannot allow a team to make 15 three-pointers on us.”
Alabama (13-9, 6-4 SEC) started strong, forcing three turnovers in the first two minutes to jump out to an 8-2 lead, but Auburn (15-8, 4-6 SEC) rallied and was able to take the lead for good on a three-pointer by Ronnie Johnson to give the Tigers a 16-14 lead with 14:05 remaining in the half. Auburn went a 13-5 run late in the half to increase its lead to 36-25 with 6:08 on the clock.
However, the Tide immediately answered with eight straight points to trim the lead to 36-33 with 4:35 left in the half. The Tigers held a 41-39 advantage at the break.
The teams remained close to start the second half until Auburn went on an 18-6 run to take a commanding 69-54 lead with seven minutes to play. The lead would remain in double figures until Alabama’s pressure started affecting the Tigers. Over the final two minutes, the Tide forced four turnovers and had three steals, which resulted in 10 consecutive points, but it was not enough as the Tigers held on for the win.
The Tide finished the game shooting 43 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc, while the Tigers connecting on 51 percent from the floor and 56 percent from deep. Alabama outrebounded Auburn, 47-28, and outscored the Tigers on second chance points, 19-5.
“Some of the three-pointers we didn’t even contest,” Johnson said. “We were playing their guys like they couldn’t even shoot, but I will do a better job of making sure I explain the scouting report. Hopefully we will get better at executing. When we outrebounded a team by 20, you should win that game. Unfortunately we didn’t do that tonight.”
Alabama heads to Columbia, S.C. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, to take on the No. 19 South Carolina Gamecocks. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. CT with the contest airing on SEC Network.