Alabama Basketball had a very good Auburn team within reach Tuesday night. A late Crimson Tide collapse gave the Tigers an 81-77 win. In many ways, the game was not that close.
Auburn has one of the best players in the country, in freshman, Jabari Smith. The 6′ 10″ forward has the skills to play any position and that was obvious in Coleman Coliseum. Smith finished with 25 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, two steals and an assist. Thankfully the future NBA lottery pick will never play in Tuscaloosa again.
One of the three components of the Nate offense failed again Tuesday night. The Crimson Tide was 7-for-31 outside the arc for 22.6 percent. Overall shooting was also deficient, at 34.8 percent. The way Nate Oats’ team stayed in the game was at the foul line. The Tide was plus-10 at the line, making 24-of-29 for 82.8 percent.
Auburn only made seven threes as well, but the Tigers took five fewer shots outside the arc. For the game, Auburn shot 44.8 percent. Several Crimson Tide rim chances were blocked. Auburn led the block stat at 11, to seven for the Crimson Tide.
Volume shooting works for Alabama Basketball in most games. It didn’t against Auburn because the Tide shot poorly and the Tigers had an equal number (plus one) of field goal attempts.
The Tide’s chance to slow Jabari Smith was negated when Juwan Gary got three early fouls. Gary played only six minutes. Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly were a combined 8-for-33, and 4-for-18 outside the arc. The Tide battled on the glass, getting 42 rebounds to 44 for Auburn. Darius Miles led the Tide in rebounds with nine.
In his post-game review, Nate Oats said,
"Tough loss. I thought our guys fought hard to get back in it at the end. You have to give Auburn a lot of credit, that’s a hard-playing, tough group.There’s a few positives. WE got pretty good play out of Darius Miles, JD Davison played great late, we were +11 when he was on the floor."
14-0 run gave Alabama Basketball a chance
The Crimson Tide tied the game at 73-73 with 4:04 left. The 14-0 Crimson Tide run was outstanding. The tying dunk from Darius Miles was the Crimson Tide’s last field goal of the game. The Tide missed all eight shots after the game was tied, and ended the game making one of its last 10 shots.
Speaking about the late-game drought, Nate Oats said,
"Late, Auburn went to a little bit of a zone. We didn’t execute like we needed to out of that."
That might be the biggest understatement of this Alabama basketball season.
Having now lost three of its last five games, the 11-5, Crimson Tide needs a road win on Saturday against Mississippi State.