After a competitive loss to North Carolina on Wednesday, the Crimson Tide looked to bounce back against Big 12 opponent Iowa State on Thursday night.
Bama started hot, with John Petty picking up where he left off on Wednesday, hitting an early three pointer. Three quick makes from long range by Petty, plus a steal and a dunk by the junior guard, staked the Tide to a 14-4 early lead. Unfortunately Iowa State caught fire and won 104-89. The Tide fell to 2-4, while Iowa State improved to 4-2.
Bama still held a 23-20 lead with 10:15 remaining in the half. Things went back and forth for a few possessions, but a 32-30 lead by the Tide was their last lead of the game. The Cyclones outscored Bama 47-22 over the last 15 minutes of the half to take a commanding 51-36 half time lead.
In the first half Bama shot only 12-37 (32%), including 5-12 (38%) from deep, and 7-8 from the free throw line. ISU was 20-40 from the field and a blistering 9-17 from the three point line in the first stanza. The Cyclones entered the game hitting only 29% of their three point shots on the season. Petty was a one man show in the half with 15 points, making all but four of the Tide field goals.
The second half began evenly before the Tide caught fire, and when Beetle Bolden and Jaden Shackelford hit back to back three point shots, the deficit was only six points at 61-55 with 14:19 left in the game. Over the next two minutes the Cyclones had four point plays on two occasions, the six point margin was suddenly 20, and the game was as good as over.
The Tide kept fighting, and Petty kept gunning, but there was no slowing down the Iowa State juggernaut. The pace never slowed down (a shot went up every 12 seconds during the game), until the last few seconds, and the Cyclones overwhelmed the short handed Tide squad. Jaylen Forbes finally saw a three point shot go through the hoop, and walk on Britton Johnson hit a long ranger as well for the last Bama points.
Bama improved to 19-37 (51%) in the second half, including 7-13 (54%) from deep, and 7-8 from the stripe. However, ISU was 16-29 (55%), 6-12 from deep, and 15-21 from the free throw line. For the game Bama shot 41% from the field, 46% (!!) from the three point line. and 15-18 from the free throw line. Iowa State finished at 52% from the field, 52% from three, and 17-24 (71%) from the free throw line.
Petty was incredible, scoring 34 points on 11-22 from the field, 6-9 from the three point line, and 6-6 from the free throw line. For good measure he threw in 12 rebounds, three steals, and a block, in his best game as a Tide player. Petty was all over the court and showed a level of hustle that we haven't seen. Bolden was the only other Tide player in double figures, finishing with 10 points in his best game in Crimson. Herbert Jones had nine points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Kira Lewis had his first subpar game of the year with eight points on 3-13 shooting, had four rebounds, five assists, and four turnovers. Javian Davis added seven points and five rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench, after starting the last four games.
Iowa State superstar Tyrese Haliburton had 23 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. Rasir Bolton added 22 points, and three other Cyclones finished in double figures.
It is more exciting to lose 100-85 than it is 54-51, so there is that. Coach Nate Oats is obviously going to play his style come hell or high water, and the creek is rising, so Bama fans better brace for a rough season this year. With the lack of numbers, and the square pegs-round holes makeup of the roster compared to the system, things will be tough. With the tough out of conference slate, followed by the grind of the SEC, there will likely be more days like this during the season. So, buckle up, I suppose.
Best I can tell the Tide will play in the 9:30 CT game tomorrow night, against an opponent to be determined.
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