The Alabama Crimson Tide (23-13, 12-6 SEC) wasn’t able to keep their post season hopes alive on Tuesday night in front of a big crowd at Coleman Coliseum. In a game that proved to be the embodiment of Alabama’s season, the Tide dropped a close one to the Maryland Terrapins (25-12, 8-10 ACC), 58-57.
The Crimson Tide faithful showed up in Tuscaloosa in a big way in hopes of seeing the hometown team advance to play in the NIT Semifinals in Madison Square Garden. An announced crowd of 9,479 watched anxiously throughout the game, waiting for something to bring them to their feet.
Alabama came out strong on the offensive side of the ball. Rodney Cooper and Levi Randolph helped the Tide jump out to an early lead, but right on cue, Alabama would sink into a long scoring drought. The Tide only scored 11 points in the final 14:37 in the first half. Maryland would go into the locker room at half with a 31-24 lead.
Although the Tide’s offensive struggles would continue in the second half, a strong defensive effort and improved shooting would keep Alabama in the game.
Levi Randolph once again led the Crimson Tide’s scoring attack. He finished with 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. After only two points in the first half, Trevor Releford found his offensive game in the second half. Releford added 11 points, 5 rebounds, and one assist. Rodney Cooper was the only other Alabama player in double-digits. He finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds in 38 minutes of play. Nick Jacobs led the way off the bench for the Crimson Tide. He tacked on 9 points and 4 rebounds and was perfect from the free throw line.
Maryland’s star 7-foot-1 center, Alex Len, proved to be a mismatch for the Tide all night long. He was dominate on the low block against Alabama’s weak inside presence. Len finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds but was limited by foul trouble late in the game.
Although Maryland dominated for much of the game, Alabama was able to claw their way back in at the end. The Tide got the ball on the final possession with a chance to win the game. After Rodney Cooper’s attempted layup was blocked out of bounds, Alabama retained possession with only 3.9 seconds remaining. Trevor Lacey received the in-bounds pass and was able to create separation for a final shot from about 17 feet, but he couldn’t get it to go as time expired.
In disappointing fashion the Tide dropped their first game in Tuscaloosa since December 30. With the win, Maryland advances to the NIT Semifinals in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
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