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Alabama Basketball Loses Heartbreaker

The Tide fell 73-71 at Penn State on Saturday.

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Crimson Tide battled hard against tough odds, but in the end couldn’t pull out the road victory over a very good Penn State team. The Tide led by six at halftime, and built a nine point second half lead before running out of gas and losing 73-71. PSU is now 9-2 and will be ranked next week, after also defeating number four Maryland earlier this week. Bama fell to 4-5.

Bama took a 5-2 early lead on a three pointer and two free throws by John Petty. The Tide then missed eight straight field goal attempts before Beetle Bolden and Jaylen Forbes came in and gave the team a lift. Petty and Javian Davis both got in early foul trouble, but the Tide was still able to hold a 40-34 half time lead. Bolden scored 12 points in the period, and has helped by five points from Forbes, Petty, and Jaden Shackelford.

The Tide shot 14-39 for 32% in the first half, including 6-19 (32%) from the three point line, and 6-10 from the free throw line. PSU was 10-31 for 32% and 4-17 from three and 10-13 from the charity stripe. At the half Bama out rebounded the much bigger Lions 26-23. The normally turnover prone Tide had only five first half miscues.

Davis picked up both his third and fourth fouls just 10 seconds into the second half. The Tide maintained a three to six point lead up until the 12 minute mark when the score was tied 57-57. By then Petty had four fouls, and Herbert Jones had gone into the locker room nursing his sore elbow.

The Tide got back to back baskets from a surprising source, when Galin Smith put Bama in front 61-57 at the nine minute mark. A 7-0 Penn State run put the Tide behind 68-63 with just under four minutes left. Bama did not quit and kept bouncing back but could not get over the hump. Alex Reese hit a three to make it 68-66, and Bama kept scraping, but couldn’t get out of their own way. With 23 seconds left, Reese missed a chance when his attempt was blocked, basically taken away from him. PSU missed free throws, and the Tide had one last chance. The best they could come up with was a I’ll advised pass to Reese in the corner, who drove and threw up something wild that went behind the basket. Penn State had the 73-71 victory.

The Tide shot 34% from the field in the second half and only 20% from deep, and was 2-4 ( yes only four attempts) from the free throw line. PSU shot 40% for the half, and 40% from deep. They basically won the game with 9-13 free throws made in the second half.

Overall Bama was 27-77 for 35%, and 9-34 (26%) from deep, along with 8-14 (57%) from the free throw line. The Tide grabbed 47 rebounds, dished 12 assists, and committed only 10 turnovers. PSU finished 23-63 for 36%, 8-27 from deep (29%) and 19-26 from the free throw line. The huge Big10 team had 40 rebounds, 14 assists, and 16 turnovers. Alabama was called for 22 fouls and Penn State was called for 14. Bama never reached the bonus in the second half.

Bolden led the way with 15 points for Bama. Reese added 12 as the only other player in double digits, and also had eight rebounds. Herbert Jones had nine rebounds to go with his six points. Petty played only 20 minutes with fouls trouble and scored only seven points, and added six rebounds. Lewis shot a putrid 3-18 and also had seven points to go with seven rebounds and six assists. Lewis, Jones, and Shackleford, combined to go 9-40 from the field,

With foul trouble, injuries, and leading scorers Lewis and Petty combining for only 13 points it is incredible that this was only a two point road loss to a top 20 team. It does seem like the Tide is getting better at running Oats system, but still don’t have enough bodies to do it well. The team doesn’t quit, the effort, if not the execution, is always there.

Bama will travel to Birmingham to play Samford in the Legacy Arena on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The game can be seen on The Watch ESPN App.

Roll Tide #BallAndOats

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