On the road against the Razorbacks, the Crimson Tide started strong but faltered down the stretch to drop their second game in a row against a conference rival.
Alabama fell 71-59 to Arkansas on Saturday afternoon in Fayetteville's Bud Walton Arena. The Tide's overall record now stands at 11-6 and the 1-2 in conference play. The win stopped a four-game losing streak for the Hogs who are now 8-9 overall and 1-1 against SEC opponents.
As usual, Mikhail Torrance was a force on offense, leading the Tide in scoring with 15 points. His effort was bolstered by the 25 points produced by JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell. But it wasn't enough against an inspired Razorback offense intent on taking advantage of what proved to be very physical game.
Arkansas came into the game determined to make a good showing after a tough loss to Mississippi State during the week. The Hogs were led by Marshawn Powell's 18 points and 10 rebounds but this offense was nothing if not balanced. Four Hogs finished with double digit scoring, three of whom collected double-doubles as well.
It didn't hurt that the zebras decided to roam free once again. The head official, Mike Stuart, was the same one who helmed the abominable officiating effort in the Vandy game where the Tide were awarded 20 more fouls than the Commodores. Early in the game on Saturday Coach Grant picked up a technical foul early letting Stuart know he expected a better effort but to little effect.
In a game where the two teams were playing neck and neck in almost every offensive category the officials were very much a factor. The Razorbacks were awarded 18 foul shots and made 14 of them while Alabama only made half of the eight shots the zebras decided to call in their favor.
Foul woes also prompted conservative defensive play from the Tide and Arkansas took full advantage, outrebounding Alabama 40-27.
Even more devastating to the Tide was the ejection of Senario Hillman for an elbow on the Hog's Rotnei Clarke only after the refs had to take a long look at the replay to determine if the foul they called was flagrant. Spectacular. With Hillman's departure, the offense sputtered and Alabama was outscored 24-13 from that point on.
Still, Alabama could only blame themselves for squandering the opportunity by going ice cold from the perimeter. Despite a ton of open looks, the Tide could only muster 5 of 18 three pointers - not a single one in the second half.
Things only get rougher as the Tide heads back home needing a conference win against a very powerful and deservedly ranked Tennessee squad on Tuesday night in Coleman Coliseum.