Well, Alabama won the SEC but they couldn’t close out with a win in College Station.
The first half of the game was almost comical. Maybe it was just the product of an 11am road game, maybe a bit of emotional letdown after clinching the SEC, but no matter the cause it was ugly. Alabama opened play with consecutive unforced turnovers, both errant passes from Jaden Bradley to Mark Sears. It was an ominous start to a half that would see Alabama somehow trail by only ten headed into the locker room despite an unfathomable 21% shooting percentage and 11% from three on 19 attempts to go with ten turnovers.
Texas A&M played competently enough on defense, but that was far from the only issue. Alabama had a ton of wide open looks from three and simply couldn’t get them to drop. This is now three consecutive games where the Tide has struggled outside, and top seed notwithstanding that has to be concerning headed into tournament play.
Alabama has proven to be a second half team all year, and today’s game was no exception. The offensive spacing was better, they were able to get out in transition a bit, and a few threes fell. Finally, Alabama had its first lead of the game at 54-51 on a Jahvon Quinerly three with just under five minutes to play. Wade Taylor IV immediately answered for A&M, and the game was on for the last four minutes.
The zebras pretty well took over at that point, as road teams often experience. Miller had two fouls with three minutes to play. He then was called for a dubious charge on a play when he showed great body control in not going through the defender, a three-shot foul on a clean block, and some sort of touch foul in a scrum when an Aggie dribbler lost his feet.
Alabama had a chance late, pulling within two with 35 seconds left. They even got a stop, as Mark came down with the rebound. Unfortunately, Sears made about the most boneheaded pass in a clutch scenario that you will ever see, throwing the ball right to an Aggie defender when he had all the room in the world to dribble.
Oh, well. Alabama will have to settle for 16-2 in the SEC for the second time in three seasons and will now await their opponent on Friday in the tournament quarterfinals. Hopefully they can find the three-ball by then.