Alabama was able to dictate the pace of the game and handed No. 8 Auburn their first defeat in the SEC by a score of 79-75 on Wednesday.
Just six seconds into the game, Auburn’s Johni Broome hit a three-pointer with only half of the building’s lights on. As a result, the game suffered a 15-minute power outage delay. Broome would hit many more shots before the game was over, but Alabama was able to hold onto their 14-point first-half lead for the win.
Here are a few takeaways from the game.
Guarding Big Men Still a Struggle
Alabama has struggled all season guarding talented big men, and it continued on Wednesday. Auburn’s Johni Broome is one of the best big men in the SEC, and the Crimson Tide had no answer for him. Broome torched the Alabama defense for a game-high 25 points and 14 rebounds, but fortunately for the Crimson Tide, they were able to keep all other Auburn players in check.
Griffen Provides Spark Off Bench
Latrell Wrightsell, Jr. was a late addition to the Alabama starting five, pushing Rylan Griffen to the bench. The late switch by Nate Oats paid off big as Wrightsell chipped in 14 points for the Crimson Tide and allowed Griffen to help provide a spark coming off the bench. Griffen did just that, contributing 17 points while hitting a game-high five three-pointers.
Where is Estrada?
Aaron Estrada came into the contest Alabama’s second-leading scorer behind Mark Sears. Wednesday night he was missing. Estrada only logged 17 minutes for Alabama and went scoreless on the night. Normally, Estrada is able to contribute in other ways when his shot isn’t there, but on Wednesday he was barely able to do that. Estrada finished the night with three rebounds and two assists.
Nelson Comes Up Clutch
Grant Nelson has had his fair share of difficulties since SEC play started, but when Alabama needed him the most, he showed up. Nelson’s physicality down low has been in question, but he proved he could battle in the paint with Auburn’s bigs. Nelson finished with a double-double, scoring 14 points and pulling down a team-high 11 rebounds. His 10th rebound was his most important of the night. Off a Mark Sears missed layup, Nelson grabbed the rebound out of the air and slammed it home, bringing the crowd to their feet while extending the Crimson Tide lead to five with under a minute to play.
Alabama will host LSU at Coleman Coliseum on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT.
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