University of Arkansas basketball coach Mike Anderson graciously said the Alabama basketball team “just ran out of time” on Saturday.
The more accurate conclusion would be that Alabama squandered its chances in the 40 minutes that it had available.
Missed free throws, defensive lapses, 18 turnovers, a lack of rebounding and another perplexing slow start added up to a 76-73 loss, the Crimson Tide’s third in a row at a critical time of year.
“I’m very disappointed,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “I’m disappointed for our fans. You’ve got to move on to the next game but I’m disappointed in myself.”
Alabama did rally in the final 2:41 of the game, after falling behind by nine points, 69-60. Three-point shots by Braxton Key and John Petty pulled Alabama to within five points, 71-66, and a charging call on Arkansas’ Jaylen Barford gave Alabama the ball with 1:34 remaining. A Collin Sexton turnover gave the ball back to Arkansas, but Alabama’s defense forced a shot clock violation with 52 seconds to play. Sexton hit two free throws to pull Alabama within three points, and later had an opportunity to make an and-one free throw and missed. Donta Hall also missed two free throws with 15 seconds to go and Arkansas made three of four free throws to clinch the win down the stretch.
Alabama trailed the entire first half after the Razorbacks jumped to a 17-6 lead.
“We were just in a fog to start the game,” Johnson said. “No rhythm, no sense of urgency. At the start of the game, we just weren’t ourselves. I’m still trying to put my finger on it.”
“We were being careless, our ball movement wasn’t there,”said UA freshman John Petty. “They are all correctable errors, we’ve just got to get them fixed.”
Arkansas’ win was its third straight over Alabama and marked the second time in three years that the Razorbacks (20-9, 9-7 SEC) have handed UA a crucial late-season loss.
“Hats off to our guys,” said Arkansas coach Mike Anderson. “They hung in and hung in. I thought our seniors came out and established the way we wanted this game to go.”
Key led Alabama (17-12, 8-8 SEC) with 16 points. Sexton added 15. Alabama coach Avery Johnson said that Sexton, who had been mentioned in a Yahoo Sports article on potential college basketball violations, had been cleared to play.
“We reviewed it and we made the decision that Collin would be available to us,” Johnson said.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.