Alabama came into the night having won five of the last six and looking to build some momentum headed into the postseason.
The Aggies had other ideas, and ended up walloping Alabama 87-71 at Coleman Coliseum.
The first half went reasonably well on offense, but inconsistent defense kept the game closer than it should have been. Jaden Shackelford came out shooting the ball well and led the way with 12 points. Unfortunately Texas A&M scored 37 points in the first half while making only two three pointers, seemingly getting to the rim at will, and the Tide helped them out with nine turnovers while the Aggies had only one. Still, Alabama took a narrow 40-37 lead into the break.
Texas A&M came out playing a spirited brand of basketball in the second half and opened with a 8-0 run to seize the lead. It was more of the same, as Alabama played fast and explosive on offense but was also careless with the basketball and didn’t play a lot of defense. That might be generous, actually. You may have seen better defense in the recent NBA All-Star game. Shots didn’t fall in the second half, the Aggies got hot, and the Tide got rolled. That’s what happens when you put constant pressure on yourself to score 80 points every night to win. The Aggies wanted this one badly, and it showed. They thoroughly outplayed Alabama in pretty much every way imaginable.
Nate Oats will undoubtedly be talking about defense yet again, but as I wrote weeks ago, it’s likely a lost cause. There may be spurts here and there, but this team is just going to have to play stellar ball on offense in order to make any kind of run. The good news is that they have done it against some pretty strong teams, but then you have Georgia and Missouri and now a blowout at home to Texas A&M.
Alabama has one chance left to notch a 20th win, this weekend at LSU, before entering the SEC Tournament as a middle seed. Hope for the best.