The Alabama men’s basketball team put up a turnover heavy performance against the 12th ranked Auburn Tigers Wednesday night at Auburn Arena, as they were outscored by the Tigers 90-71.
Alabama remains a tournament hopeful at 17-11 (8-7 SEC), while Auburn continues to exceed preseason expectations as they move to 24-4 (12-3 SEC). This leads the series between the two rivals split at one game a piece.
Alabama was unable to put together a cohesive effort even against Auburn’s Anfernee McLemore and Mustapha Heron-less roster, despite freshman phenom Collin Sexton’s 25 points on 8-12 shooting.
Unfortunately for the Crimson Tide, Sexton’s efforts were minimal as Auburn was able to capitalize on Bama’s 17 turnover performance and an 8-board differential (14-6) on the offensive glass. Alabama’s free throw shooting once again plagued them as well as their 63 percent effort roughly matches their 67 percent for the season.
Alabama was however able to shoot the ball from the field better at 46 percent opposed to Auburn’s 43 percent.
Auburn was able to score in spurts as they began the game with an 8-0 run and outscored the Tide in the second half 50-36 lead by Jared Harper’s 21 points and 10-11 free throw shooting performance.
The Tide was able to enter the half only down 35-40, but Auburn was continuously able to put more shots up as they exceeded the Tide’s overall field goal attempt output 68-52. Not only was Auburn’s 50 point second half point total the most Alabama has surrendered in a half this season, but the Tiger’s 90 points were the most put on the team as a whole since Alabama’s memorable three on five showdown against Minnesota where the Golden Gophers put up 89.
Bryce Brown (18), Jared Harper (21), and Chuma Okeke (16) were all effective scorers for the Tigers while Braxton Key and Avery Johnson Jr. were the Tide’s second most productive scorers with 11 and 10 respectively.
Although Alabama has been able to defeat five ranked teams this year, the two consecutive road losses to Kentucky and Auburn will not help the team’s RPI, something that has helped the Tides chances amidst their nearly .500 record in SEC play.
The Alabama Crimson Tide will face the 19-9 Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday, Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum for what will be an important chance for the Tide to cap off their season of impressive victories.