Alabama basketball, with only seven, healthy players available, could not match the defensive effort of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Alabama basketball fans are disappointed after the home loss to Arkansas Saturday night. The outcome of the game was bad enough, damaging Crimson Tide chances for an NCAA bid. Worse was after the Tide went up 12-0 early, the Razorbacks outscored the Tide 82-66 the rest of the way.
Effort was not the problem for Nate Oats’ team. Despite the limited resources of a short bench, the Alabama Crimson Tide battled throughout. The problem was the Razorbacks were just better defensively.
That defensive mismatch might not have occurred had Herbert Jones has been available to the Tide. It can be argued when Herbert Jones had surgery on his broken wrist, the Tide lost its chance against the Hogs. How long Jones will be out is not known. How the Tide will fare without Herbert is debatable.
Without Jones, the Crimson Tide could not handle the dribble-penetration of Jimmy Whitt Jr. and to a lesser degree Mason Jones. The Razorback pair combined to score 56 of the 82 Arkansas points. Whitt scored 26 points without attempting a single three. He shot 58 percent for the game.
The Arkansas defensive game-plan was to take away John Petty’s three-point game. It worked. Petty got five shots outside the arc, all but one contested and all but one, missed. Alex Reese and Jaden Shackelford combined to make 7-of-18 threes, but with Kira Lewis and Jaylen Forbes going 0-for-8, the Tide was only 25.8 percent from long-range.
The brightest spot for the Tide was on the glass. Alabama basketball out-rebounded Arkansas 41-34. Jaylen Forbes and John Petty had nine boards each. Alex Reese and Jaden Shackelford had seven rebounds each. Shackelford led the Crimson Tide in scoring with a career-high, 28 points.
Speaking about the Tide’s defensive weaknesses, Nate Oats said,
Some Alabama basketball fans may need a detailed medical report. Saturday’s ailing players are listed below.
- Herbert Jones – Broken Wrist; out indefinitely with a best-case return in three weeks.
- Bettle Bolden – Lingering stomach problem; expected to be available on Tuesday against Tennessee.
- Raymond Hawkins – Flu; separated from the team for 72 hours. Hawkins has played in four games and is likely to redshirt.
Alabama basketball fans don’t need a reminder, but for the record, three more scholarship players are unavailable this season. Juwan Gary and James Rojas were lost to knee injuries. Jahvon Quinerly was denied immediate eligibility after a transfer from Villanova.
Nate Oats refused to use the short roster as an excuse.
With the Tide’s man defense unable to stop penetration, some Alabama fans question Oats not playing any zone. It will be interesting to see if Oats tries that adjustment in upcoming games.