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Tide Falls to Cyclones

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Despite a valiant effort and 27 points from Rodney Cooper, Alabama lost 84-74 to 13th ranked Iowa State in the semifinals of the CBE Hall Of Fame Classic in Kansas City on Monday night.

Freshman Riley Norris led the Tide with six rebounds in a loss to Iowa State on Monday night.
Freshman Riley Norris led the Tide with six rebounds in a loss to Iowa State on Monday night.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Alabama Crimson Tide left the friendly confines of Coleman Coliseum for the first time this season, and the results were familiar. 'Bama lost for the 17th straight time away from home, this time to 13th ranked Iowa State 84-74 in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated. 'Bama was down by only four with three minutes remaining, but couldn't get any closer and had to start fouling, inflating the final margin.

'Bama started out hot, with Justin Coleman hitting a game opening three, and led 17-14 with 11 minutes left in the half. Iowa State wen on a run and, after forging a 26-26 tie, scored 12 straight to lead 38-26 with four minutes remaining. Levi Randolph got untracked and scored seven in a row, and when Ricky Tarrant hit a jumper at the halftime buzzer, Bama was down only 43-37. The Tide played a good offensive half and rebounded well, but couldn't stop Iowa State defensively. The Cyclones shot 59% in the half and 42% from three point range. Rodney Cooper had nine points, Shannon Hale had eight and Randolph seven at intermission.

The Tide rode a 16-4 run that overlapped the intermission to pull within one at 45-44 as Cooper scored seven straight points to key the surge. The Tide actually took a brief leads at 51-50 and 59-58, but ultimately the stronger Iowa State squad was able to keep the scrappy Tide at bay. Cooper hit a three pointer with three-plus minutes left to make the deficit 76-73, but the game would get no closer as Iowa State salted the game away at the free throw line.

Cooper was the leading scorer with 27 and added five rebounds for the Tide, shooting 10-17 from the field, 4-8 from three point range, and 3-4 from the free throw line. Randolph scored in double digits for the fifth straight game, dating back to last season, with 18 points, but shot only 6-17 from the field, 1-3 from three point range, and remained perfect on the season (26-26) from the free throw stripes. Shannon Hale struggled shooting (3-10, 1-6 from three) as well, dropping in nine points and also added four assists. Coleman scored six on 2-9 shooting (2-7 from behind the arc) and had four assists. Riley Norris scored five points and led the team in rebounds with six.

Georges Niang showed why he is a Wooden Award candidate by scoring 28 points and grabbing six boards for ISU. Dustin Hogue scored 17, Naz Long contributed 15, and in his first game of the year Matt Thomas burned the Tide with 13 points and eight rebonds off the bench. Point guard Monte Morris had 12 assists, and six rebounds, and did not score or have a turnover in the game.

Iowa State shot 29-50 (58%) from the field, 9-21 (42%) from the three point line, and 17-21 (81%) from the free throw line. 'Bama hoisted 20 more shots but hit only 27 of 70 (38.6%) from the field including 10-30 (33.35) from three and 10-13 (77%) from the free throw line. 'Bama only turned the ball over nine times, dished out 16 assists, and forced 15 turnovers. ISU had 18 assists for the game.

'Bama played hard and went toe to toe with a potential final four type team. Iowa State is going to score a lot of points on a lot of teams this year. Still, at some point the Tide is going to have to figure a way to get over the hump and win a game away from home. The next chance is Tuesday night against Arizona State, who lost to Maryland in the other semifinal game. The game will be at 6 p.m.CST and will be shown on ESPNU.  The other road games before the end of the year are at Xavier on December 6th and at Wichita State on December 16th, both tough teams in tough venues.

While it will go down as another loss away from home, this one was a bit different. Thus far the team has played a more exciting brand of basketball, and has more depth than in the past. The feel of the last couple of years where defeat seemed inevitable just wasn't present in this game. The season is young, but this team has potential and  once they get this monkey off their back of winning away for home others should follow.

Roll Tide Yall

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