AUBURN, Ala. –It was clear from the opening tip that Auburn had it, and Alabama basketball didn’t.
Auburn jumped out to a 14-2 start and controlled the game the entire way. Alabama tied it at 30 in the first half, and entered the half only down five. But the Tigers poured it on in the second half, building a 20-point lead at point to cruise to a 90-71 victory on Wednesday night. The Tigers avenged its early season loss in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama’s lack of effort in the second half is a bit concerning as postseason play approaches. Alabama has lost its last two games by double digits.
The loss dropped Alabama to 17-11 overall, including 8-7 in SEC play.
Missed opportunity/poor effort
Due to injury and illness, Auburn was essentially down to 7 players. Still didn’t matter as the Tigers completely ran Alabama off the floor in the second half.
Alabama lacked effort and hustle on the defense end for multiple trips in a row, which ultimately led to Auburn blowing the game open. Alabama failed to close out on 3-point shooters and didn’t box out to secure defensive rebounds.
Offensively, Alabama didn’t seem to value the ball much as the Tide committed 17 turnovers.
Paging John Petty
It’s been a running joke that freshman guard John Petty’s shooting doesn’t travel. That was the case on Wednesday night. Petty shot 11 percent from three-point range and scored just 3 points.
Heading into the game, Petty was shooting 46 percent from 3 in Alabama’s wins. In Alabama’s loses, Petty shot 23 percent from 3. You can never blame one player for a team loss, but Petty’s inconsistent shooting is troubling as Alabama approaches the postseason.
Little to nothing inside
Alabama got little to nothing from its bigs inside. Part of that was due to how Auburn was defending the paint. The Tigers employed different types of zone defense to keep Alabama off guard, and to make the post entry passes tough. Auburn’s defenders also did a good job of stripping the ball whenever Donta Hall or Daniel Giddens tried to go up for a shot.
Both Hall and Giddens should have had more success in this one considering Auburn’s lack of size down low.
Up next for Alabama basketball
Alabama basketball begins its final two-game homestand when it welcomes the Arkansas Razorbacks to Coleman Coliseum on Saturday night at 6 p.m. ET/5 p.m. CT on the SEC Network. It is the only meeting between the teams this season.
From there, Alabama hosts Florida on Feb. 27 (ESPN/ESPN2) before closing out the regular season at Texas A&M (ESPN/ESPN2) on March 3.