Alabama entered Sunday's game in Greenville (Clemson will play all 2015-16 games there due to arena renovations on campus) looking to add an impressive win to what is arguably the best early season resume in the SEC, but they would have to do so without star Freshman guard Dazon Ingram, who will be lost for the season after suffering a broken foot that required surgery. If the Tide were to beat the Tigers on this day they would need a big game from Senior guard Retin Obasohan. They got it.
Obasohan was exactly what Alabama will need him to be to overcome the loss of Ingram: the best player on the floor. Retin finished with a career high 23 points on 9/16 shooting. Early on, the Alabama offense was as impressive as it has been all season, jumping out to a 16-7 lead on hot 3-point shooting. The Tide kept a healthy lead for most of the half and headed to the locker room up 34-26 after back to back baskets by Jimmie Taylor and the aforementioned Obasohan.
Early in the second half it looked as if Alabama might would cruise to a huge non-conference win over a quality opponent. The Tide would open up its largest lead in the game of 11 only to watch it completely evaporate. Clemson took it to Alabama inside to get back in the game as Tiger big man Landry Nnoko, who is known more for his defensive prowess finished with 15 points on 7/9 shooting. Alabama big man Jimmie Taylor continued to be a disappointment, looking lost at times defensively while contributing nothing offensively. Everything was going the way of the home team who had whittled the Bama lead all the way down to two with 8:45 remaining before Tide Junior Shannon Hale converted the hoop and the harm, to give the visitors some momentum they desperately needed.
Alabama then went on a scoring drought that harkened back to the struggles of recent years, going nearly seven minutes without a field goal down the stretch. Clemson came all the way back to take the lead with 1:49 remaining and it appeared we were in store for the first gut wrenching loss of the Avery Johnson era. Fortunately, Shannon Hale saved the day, stealing an inbounds pass and beating everyone down the floor for the deciding dunk with 19.4 seconds left.
Few had this Alabama team sitting at 6-2 with four quality wins and no bad losses at this point in the season. Even more impressive than the record is that Alabama has shown the ability to win the close games that have haunted the program for the last six years. What this team and this coaching staff have accomplished so far has been nothing short of incredible. Alabama will still have their struggles this season but one thing is for sure, the Tide is turning for the Men's Basketball program.