TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – In the No. 24 Alabama Crimson Tide fell flat in their final home game of the 2021-22 season, falling to the unranked Texas A&M Aggies 71-87. This season’s Coleman Coliseum finale saw the Tide fall to 19-11 on the season and 9-8 in the SEC.
Jaden Shackelford led the Tide in scoring with 16 (4-12 FG, 4-10 3PT) while J.D. Davison, who notched his 5th career start, led the team in assists with 6. Charles Bediako had a team-high 5 rebounds in addition to his 8 (4-5 FG) points, 2 assists and 2 blocks.
No. 24 Alabama failed to distance themselves from the Aggies in the early going despite shooting 51.7% (15-29) from the field, 38.5% (5-13) from three and 100% (5-5) from the foul stripe. They entered halftime precariously ahead just 40-37.
Tonight, it was the Aggies’ efficient shooting percentages in the 1st half—50% (14-28) from the field, 40% (2-5) from three and a perfect 7-7 from the free throw—that gave them a solid foundation from which they constructed a blowout in the 2nd. The Tide let A&M hang around and paid the price when the pressure mounted.
Within the first two minutes of the 2nd, Aggies guard Quenton Jackson scored 4 points quick that gave A&M the lead, 41-40; Alabama’s inconsistencies from the floor made it an insurmountable one. Jackson would finish the game with 28 (9-13 FG, 1-2 3PT) points, 3 assists—and most importantly—8 drawn fouls. This gave him 9 attempts from the free throw line, all of which, he made.
In the 2nd half Texas A&M’s field goal percentage rose to 63.3% (19-30). Their percentage from deep improved to 45.5% (5-11), while they shot a steady 87.9% (7-8) from the charity stripe.
Inversely, the Crimson Tide regressed in the 2nd half but still managed to shoot 44% (11-25) from the field overall, 27.3% (3-11) from beyond the arc and 60% (6-10) from the free throw line. The Tide didn’t collapse, but they at least fell apart.
“They didn’t say anything tonight… nobody wanted to say anything,” said Alabama head coach Nate Oats. “I think they’re embarrassed too; I’m embarrassed,” he continued. “I think the best teams in any sport are player-led teams. We miss Herb Jones on the floor a lot, he’s playing great in the NBA—he’s a really good player. We miss his leadership a lot, too.”
Nate Oats has seemingly diagnosed and prescribed a remedy to the Alabama Crimson Tide in one fell swoop; this Crimson Tide team is young and lacks a player consistent enough on the court to be a true leader in the locker room. A vocal leader needs to step-up, and fast. With the SEC Tournament is slated to tipoff on March 9, this team has just one week to pick up the pieces.
The No. 24 Alabama Crimson Tide will conclude the regular season in Baton Rouge when they visit the currently unranked LSU Tigers on March 5 at 11:00 a.m. CST. However, the Tide will face an entirely new set of challenges in the coming weeks with the SEC Tournament sand March Madness on the horizon.