No. 17 Alabama (4-1) dropped its first game of the season Friday night, losing 92-81 to Ohio State in the Crimson Tide's first game of the Emerald Coast Classic.
Alabama handled its first four opponents easily, but on Friday, the Crimson Tide faced their first true test of the season. The physicality of the Big Ten opponent was too much for the Tide to handle, resulting in the first loss of the season.
Here are a few takeaways from the game.
Three-Point Shooting Roles Reversed
Alabama came into the game leading the country in three-point percentage, shooting 48.9%, while Ohio State came into the game, shooting just 35% from behind the arc. The three-point shooting Friday night was a different story for the two teams. The Crimson Tide finished shooting just 30%, while Ohio State caught fire for 56%.
Alabama Failed to Control the Tempo
Nate Oats likes for his squad to play fast and run the floor on both sides of the court, but Alabama was unable to control the speed of the game on Friday. The entire night, Ohio State dictated the pace of play and, at times, beat the Crimson Tide at their own game. Ohio State had 13 fast-break points compared to just nine for Alabama.
Dominated on the Boards
In the season's first four games, Alabama used its size advantage to dominate the glass. Size didn't matter on Friday. Ohio State used its physical style of play to push the Crimson Tide around inside the paint and dominate the rebound category 32-24.
Guards Get Outplayed
Alabama's starting guards played a good game but were out-shined by the guard play of Ohio State. Mark Sears, despite struggling from behind the arc, was able to put up 17 points. Aaron Estrada, like Sears, also struggled from behind the arc but ended up as the Tide's second-leading scorer with 19 points. Ohio State guards Roddy Gayle, Jr., with 23 points, and Bruce Thorton, with a game-high 29 points, were just too much for the Crimson Tide defense.
Alabama drops to 4-1 and will face the loser of Oregon vs. Santa Clara at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday.
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