In the last few games, the Tide seemed to have strong first halves before imploding at the end of every game. In their season finale, Alabama finally reversed that trend. After a weak first half, in which they trailed by as many as 15 points to the Aggies, the Crimson Tide, led by guard Retin Obasohan, made a spectacular second half comeback to win the game in the final seconds by one point.
The Tide scored their first 8 points of the game in the paint, which was a welcome addition to the offense for once... It's too bad this was the last regular season game. After trading blows with A&M for the first five minutes and leading the game 8-6, the Tide went on one of their patented scoring droughts, and A&M quickly racked up 10 straight points. Walk-on senior Dakota Slaughter came into the game and tried to spark the offense, hitting a three and a layup in his limited playing time and cutting the lead to 5. Unfortunately, the Tide then fell into an even longer scoring drought than the next one, and Texas A&M was suddenly up 32-17. The half ended with the Aggies leading 36-22.
Fortunately, the second half was a whole different story. Retin Obasohan and Levi Randolph led a steadily-improving offensive to the tune of 39 second half points. The Tide finally overcame their first half deficit on a 3-point shot from Levi Randolph with twelve and a half minutes to go in the game. From that point, neither team led by more than four points, and the lead changed 7 times. A&M took a 60-57 lead over the Tide with two and a half minutes to go, and then never scored again. Rodney Cooper and Retin Obasohan knocked in a couple of shots to take the lead by 1 point, and Texas A&M missed the final three-point attempt with 3 seconds left in the game.
Alabama had four different players reach double digits in scoring. Retin Obasohan was the top scorer with 12 points on a 50% shooting outing, and just did an all around great job in sparking and leading the offense from the point guard position. Senior Levi Randolph had 11 points, and was 2 of 3 from three point range (40% shooting overall). He was one rebound short of getting a double-double, and also had a couple of key steals and a block.
Forward Jimmie Taylor had one of his better games in crimson. He also scored 11 points on the day, and only missed 1 of his 4 free throws. He also pulled in 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Senior Rodney Cooper had 11 points too, but was a dreadful 1-of-8 from behind the 3-point line. Riley Norris was the fifth starter, but had a very quiet day. He hit one of three shots (and those were the first points of the game), and grabbed only 3 rebounds.
Dakota Slaughter hit 66% of his three-point shots and totaled 8 points and a couple of rebounds on the day. Michael Kessens only managed 3 points, but also added 3 rebounds, a steal, and a block in limited playing time. Justin Coleman hit one of his two three point attempts off of the bench.
The win was a nice relief from the heartbreaking losses the Tide has suffered over the last month, and was a sweet way to cap off the regular season. Next up will be the SEC tournament as the Tide fights for a spot in the NIT. We will have your preview and live coverage next week.