Alabama won in less than convincing fashion on Wednesday night, but every win counts. The Crimson Tide improved to 20-9 (9-6 SEC) with the 55-49 win, while the Tigers dropped to 14-15 (4-11 SEC). The sellout crowd was a bit restless for most of the game, but the Crimson Tide was able to pull out the win at home in front of a sellout crowd.
JaMychal Green led the Crimson Tide with 15 points and four rebounds, six of his 15 points coming in the last 1:23 of the game. Trevor Lacey was the only other Alabama player in double figures coming off the bench. Lacey finished with ten points, including a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line.
Alabama simply allowed Auburn to stick around for too long. Every time the Crimson Tide would take a lead, they would allow the Tigers back into the game. Much like the first meeting earlier this year in Auburn, the Tigers jumped out to a quick start. Alabama once again responded, but didn’t pull away. At one point in the first half, Alabama had a nine point lead, but Auburn cut the deficit to one before halftime.
Kenny Gabriel was the only Auburn player in double digits with ten points. Gabriel quietly added 11 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Auburn sophomore guard, Chris Denson, stepped up early in the game and finished with nine points. Frankie Sullivan and Noel Johnson also added nine points for the Tigers.
Looking at the stat sheet, it was a very ugly game. The free throw differential tells the story. Wednesday night’s game was physical, as expected. Alabama finished with 20 more free throw attempts than Auburn. Not to mention, Auburn shot 41.7% from the line (5-12). Alabama’s less than stellar shooting performance almost killed them tonight, but they pulled it out. The Tide shot only 31.1% from the field (14-45).
Wednesday night’s win gives Alabama five straight in the Iron Bowl series. The win also gives the Crimson Tide their second straight winning season for the first time since the 2004-2006 seasons.
Anthony Grant took a moment after the game to celebrate the Tide’s victory by raising five fingers to signify Alabama’s fifth straight victory over Auburn. The sellout crowd at Coleman Coliseum was mediocre at times, but seemed to get into the game during crunch time.
Alabama will travel to Oxford to face Ole Miss in their final conference game of the season. The Tide still has a lot to play for. A win in Oxford will give clinch a fourth-place finish in the SEC and a first-round bye in the conference tournament. Also, a deep conference tournament run would play well for the Crimson Tide. Every win is crucial in determining the Tide’s seeding in the NCAA tournament. Coach Grant knows every game is crucial at this point. He said, “We have an opportunity again to continue to try to control our own destiny with what we do going forward.”