Alabama started off their tough three-game stretch on the road against three top 10 teams with a tough 92-86 loss to No. 4 Purdue on Saturday.
Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats schedules hard games to test his team and have deficiencies exposed so that they can work on them. On Saturday, the Tide's deficiency was trying to guard a 7 ft 4 in athletic big man, last year’s NCAA player of the year Zach Edey.
Alabama held a 12-point lead in the first half against Purdue before letting their lead slip away in the second half.
Saturday’s game was part of the Hall of Fame Series, taking place in Edey’s home city of Toronto.
Here are some takeaways from the game.
Alabama took and made their most three-point shots of the season on Saturday. The team's previous season-high makes was 13, a mark they were able to tie by halftime by shooting 54%. Unfortunately, the Crimson Tide’s shooting cooled off in the second half, where they were only able to hit 27% of their three-point attempts. Alabama finished the game hitting 19 three-pointers.
Going up against a player of Zach Edey’s caliber, Alabama’s frontcourt had their hands full all day long, but they also had to battle the refs as well. Edey had his way down low, drawing fouls, leaving Alabama in foul trouble the entire game. After some questionable fouls called by the officials, Nate Oats had seen enough and said a few choice words to the refs, earning him a technical foul. Oats noted the foul differential, saying “20 to eight," which at the time was the number of fouls each team had called on them. Alabama finished with 25 fouls to just 15 for Purdue.
No Answer For Zach Edey
Zach Edey was the NCAA player of the year last year for a reason, and Alabama could do nothing to slow him down. Edey was a force to be reckoned with in the paint, finishing tied for the game-high in points with 35. He also took advantage of all the fouls that he drew, going a perfect 11-for-11 at the free-throw line. Edey and the Purdue guards ran the pick-and-roll to perfection Saturday with guard Braden Smith reaping the benefits of the Crimson Tide collapsing in on Edey. Smith finished with 27 points as a result of being left open.
Big Game For Mark Sears
Mark Sears might be over a foot shorter than Purdue’s high scorer Zach Edey, but it didn’t stop him from matching the big man’s points with 35 of his own. Sears thrived coming off ball screens to get open looks at the basket. The open looks resulted in 8-for-16 shooting from the three-point line and tying Edey for a game-high 35 points.
Alabama will return to action on Saturday, December 16, at 7 p.m. CT in Omaha, Neb., to face No. 10 Creighton.
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