FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In a game where the Alabama basketball team needed to march to a slow, steady tempo, things ended up much differently – and the Crimson Tide just got drummed.
The Arkansas Razorbacks exploded for 52 second-half points, whooping things up with every trip downcourt in one stretch that included breakaway dunks, lob dunks, 3-pointers off of loose balls and the occasional no-look pass, all contributing to a sudden, ugly halt to Alabama’s brief two-game winning streak.
“They played at warp speed, which is not our speed,” said Alabama head coach Avery Johnson. “Every time we started to show signs of life, they counter-punched.
“I tried to tell our team that the boxscore from their last game (a 99-71 loss at Oklahoma State) didn’t tell the truth. In the world of fact-checking, that wasn’t a fact. Now we’ll go back home and watch the film and they’ll realize that I was telling them the truth.”
The Crimson Tide went on an early 7-0 run and took a quick 11-7 lead after the first six minutes. As the half progressed, Alabama struggled offensively against the Razorback press and fell behind by as many as 11 points before finishing with a 35-27 halftime deficit.
The Crimson Tide scored the first two baskets of the second half, cutting the lead to four, 35-31. From that point on, a ceiling collapse would probably have been preferable for Alabama.
“When those times come, we’re going to try and kill an ant with a sledgehammer,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said.
In this case, that meant a 28-8 Razorback run.
“I thought from start to finish, our guys brought it, brought the energy, brought the intensity,” Anderson said. “I thought in the first half, the tempo was in their favor. We didn’t have a single fast break basket in the first half. But in the second half, we turned it up, not just a notch but two notches.”
Dusty Hannahs had 19 points off the Arkansas bench to lead five Razorbacks in double figures. The Arkansas bench players scored 40 points in the contest.
Dazon Ingram led Alabama with 14 points, while Braxton Key added 12.
The Crimson Tide (13-8, 6-3 SEC) will return home to face Auburn on Saturday.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.