In just their second game being ranked the No. 2 team in the nation, Alabama lost to Oklahoma 93-69 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
Ever since receiving the No. 2 ranking, Alabama has played their worst basketball of the season. Earlier in the week, Alabama struggled with Mississippi State but managed to make a comeback and come out of the game with a win. Saturday, the Crimson Tide were not as successful as they dug themselves into a huge hole and never had an answer against the Sooners.
Once again, Alabama started off slow, playing terribly on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. The Crimson Tide allowed a season-high 50 first half points on 68 percent shooting for the Sooners. Alabama’s offense was not much better as they were held to just 33 points on 33 percent shooting in the first half.
Oklahoma’s Grant Sherfield torched the Alabama defense the entire game, getting any shot he wanted with no answer from the Crimson Tide. Sherfield finished with a season-high 30 points with 18 of his 30 points coming in the big first half for the Sooners.
Alabama finished the game with five players in double figures led by a couple of guys providing a little spark off the bench. Freshman Rylan Griffen led all Alabama scorers with 15 points and added seven rebounds. Jahvon Quinerly also came off the bench and provided the Alabama offense with 12 points.
Saturday, Oklahoma may not have been the more talented team on the floor, but they were the better team, beating Alabama in categories that the Crimson Tide usually dominate the opposing team in. The Sooners were more physical than the Tide, and it showed as they won the rebounding battle 36-35, as well as the points in the paint 42-38, two categories that have been a staple for Alabama’s success this season. Not only did Alabama lose the battle inside, but they also lost the outside battle as well. Oklahoma was able to hit nine of their 13 three point attempts for an astounding 69%, while Alabama was limited to just six three pointers on 22 attempts for just 27% behind the arc.
While there weren't many positive things to take away from Saturday’s game, Alabama does still remain undefeated in the SEC, as Oklahoma is set to officially join the SEC no sooner than 2024.
Next up for Alabama is a home game against Vanderbilt on Tuesday, January 31, the second meeting between the two teams this season in which Alabama won the first meeting at Vanderbilt 78-66.
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