Language warning (drops the F-bomb). Mildly safe for work.
Alabama once again showed what they can't do. They can't make plays in clutch time. They can't shoot three-pointers at an acceptable rate. They can't get out of their own way. They can't get any production down low. They can't stop good players from beating them. They can't win if the opponent scores 65 or more points. And finally, they just can't win any games right now.
They are not closers....
This one play pretty much sums up the entire season— Down three points with 20 seconds left Retin Obasohan drove the lane and attempted a wild lay-up that wasn't close to going in.
Again, They are not closers....
The team shot 4-17 from three point range with Rodney Cooper hitting three of the four. Arkansas' freshman Bobby Portis almost beat 'Bama by himself scoring 35 points, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking six shots. At one point Portis had 29 of the Hog's 35 points. This is one game after Tennessee's Jordan McRae and Jarnell Stokes beat the Tide by combining for 48 points. The Tide falls to 0-12 this season when the opposition scores at least 65 points. And as far as winning games, with the loss 'Bama drops its third straight game and falls to 9-13 overall and 3-6 in the SEC. Arkansas improved to 14-8, also 3-6 in conference play.
The Tide had their customary slow start, although for the first time in five games they didn't fall behind 7-0 or more before scoring. This time, it was just 6-0. Following a theme that would reoccur throughout the game, Shannon Hale hit a free throw for 'Bama's first point but missed the second.
Bama was able to get a big half from Cooper, who had 13 points at halftime and a Levi Randolph jumper at the buzzer gave the Tide a 26-24 lead at intermission. Portis had 19 points for the Razorbacks at halftime.
The rest of the Arkansas team shot 1-23 in the first half. 1 for 23 and Bama only had a two point lead.
The second half began with an energetic start by Alabama, stretching the lead to five points, before Portis scored the first 11 points for Arkansas in the half. The game went back and forth for much of the second half, with the lead changing hands on numerous occasions. 'Bama last had the lead at 44-43 with 8:47 left, and missed several chances to get the lead back. (Where have we heard that before?)
Arkansas got the lead to 60-53 with 1:45 left, but the Tide got a layup from Nick Jacobs and a three from Releford to stay within striking distance. When Jacorey Williams missed the front end of a one and one, the Tide had a chance to tie with 20 seconds left, but Obasahon made his wild drive to the basket, missing on a shot that never had a chance. A Cooper or Releford three attempt might have been the better choice in that situation.
'Bama shot 21-59 from the field (35.6 %), while Arkansas was 22-57 (38.6%). The Tide actually shot better from three point range than the Hog's, 4-17, compared to 1-13 for Arkansas. The deciding factor was the free throw line, as the Tide shot a miserable 12-20 (60%), including missing the front end of several one and ones. Arkansas was 20-25 (80%).
Individually Cooper had a big night with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Releford scored in double figures for the 23rd game in a row with 12. Algie Key had his best game in several weeks, scoring eight points and helping out handling the ball against the Arkansas pressure defense. Starting center Carl Engstrom had zero points and one rebound. Jimmie Taylor had two rebounds and zero points, and our third inside guy Jacobs contributed three points and three rebounds. None of the three were effective slowing down Portis. Other than Cooper and Releford no one played anywhere near winning basketball.
Much like the Tide, Arkansas is a night and day team at home and away. The Hog's average about 87 points a game at home and about 67 on the road. They actually looked pretty bad tonight, and if not for Portis wouldn't have had a chance. That being said a close loss to a mediocre team is not a positive. The game was closer than our two blow out losses last week, but it is de ja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say. 'Bama plays hard, 'Bama gets close, 'Bama can't close the deal. Thats the story of the season.
Roll Tide Y'all, hang in there, it has to (eventually) get better.