Another slow start fueled by poor shooting from behind the arc, but this time the Crimson Tide could not complete the comeback, losing to No. 24 Texas A&M 67-61 in the regular season finale. Despite both teams having already locked up the top two seeds in the SEC Tournament, both teams came out with intensity as if this game were for the SEC title.
Once again, Alabama put themselves behind the eight ball with a poor performance in the first half. Alabama shot an abysmal 6-for-29 from the floor for just a 20.7 field goal percentage while hitting just two of their 19 three-point attempts in the first half Saturday. The Aggies were able to build their largest lead of the game, 15, before the Crimson Tide were able to trim the lead down to 32-22 going into halftime.
Going hand and hand with their slow starts has been the continued depletion of their three-point shooting. For most of the year, Alabama has shot the three at around 40%, but over the past four games, that percentage has been cut in half. Saturday against the Aggies, Alabama hoisted up 35 three-point attempts, hitting just seven for a meager 20% from the three-point line for the game. Some credit should go to Texas A&M for their defense, but most of the three-point attempts were good looks that just didn’t go in for the Tide.
With the lack of success from behind the arc, Alabama turned to the dribble drives from Jahvon Quinerly, who came off the bench and provided a little spark to the offense. Quinerly finished second on the team in scoring with 12 points and led the team in assists with three.
Brandon Miller, like the entire Alabama roster, also struggled from behind the arc, hitting just two of his 12 attempts. Despite a poor shooting day, Miller finished the game with a double-double and a team-high in points with 19 and a team-high in rebounds with 10.
For the final four minutes of the game, Alabama kept Texas A&M scoreless from the field, but the Aggies did their damage from the free throw line, scoring their final 13 points over the final four minutes from the charity stripe. Alabama battled foul trouble for most of the game and eventually, their offensive leader, Brandon Miller, fouled out. Miller’s fifth foul came with two minutes left in the game, with the Crimson Tide down by two. Without him in the game, Alabama couldn’t put together any offense to complete the comeback.
“It’s another tough game," head coach Nate Oats said after the game. “That’s four in a row we’ve had come down to the wire, coming off a hard-fought win Wednesday against Auburn. A&M made us play hard for this one, which we expected, and we just didn’t quite have enough. They were ready to go, we weren’t. We can’t keep coming out of the gate and getting down double digits in the first half. I think that’s three straight games we’ve been down double digits in the first half.”
Alabama will have almost an entire week off before their next game in the SEC Tournament on Friday, March 10, in Nashville. As the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament, Alabama will await the winner of Thursday’s 8-9 seed matchup.
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