Alabama Basketball got a big win over no. 8 Auburn in Coleman Coliseum on Wednesday night, and it might be just what the doctor ordered for Tide hoops.
This was a bizarre game that started with an extended delay after lighting issues within Coleman Coliseum. A flat start by Alabama had the home crowd growing anxious, but sophomore wing Rylan Griffen got hot and his teammates followed suit.
After its slow start, Alabama Basketball raced out to a 14-point halftime lead. That advantage would evaporate in the second half, with Auburn slowly coming back and eventually retaking the lead. It stayed tight down to the final horn, but Bama hit its free throws and made enough winning plays to close out the Tigers by a score of 79-75.
This was an impressive showing by a Tide team that had previously struggled against good competition. Bama now has a win over a top-10 team on its resume, and knocks Auburn off its pedestal as the last undefeated team in SEC play. Alabama and Auburn are now tied atop the standings with 5-1 conference records. Tennessee, who has a head-to-head win over Bama, is looming with a 4-1 record.
Mark Sears led the way with team-highs of 22 points, eight assists, and three steals. Rylan Griffen finished with 17 points and seven boards, shooting 5-10 from three-point range. Latrell Wrightsell Jr. hit four triples of his own, adding 14 points and nine rebounds from his guard position. Despite struggling for much of the game, Grant Nelson turned in a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double and made some clutch plays down the stretch. These included two momentum-shifting dunks and some high-pressure free throws to help cement the win.
This is a huge win for Alabama Basketball in every sense of the word. It directly impacts the SEC standings, significantly improves Bama’s tournament resume, and gets the proverbial monkey off the Tide’s back. Perhaps most importantly, it gives Bama Hoops in-state bragging rights, at least for the next two weeks.