By Chris DePew
Feb. 23, 2016
Alabama got 29 points from Retin Obasohan and otherwise was a futile mess on offense in a 78-53 blowout loss at No. 16 Kentucky.
What did we learn today?: This is a terrible matchup for the Crimson Tide, which should pray it doesn’t draw UK in the SEC tournament. Bama wasn’t competitive in a 77-61 home loss to the Wildcats in early January, but it could only dream of staying that close Tuesday. Excluding Obasohan’s heroic effort, the Tide shot a miserable 22.8 percent from the floor, with no other player reaching double figures. Kentucky’s defense bullied Bama in both games, leaving players to dribble out the shot clock with no discernible benefit. Alabama has wins against all three teams that entered the night tied for second in the league, but has no answer for Big Blue.
What were the biggest concerns?: Out of the eight players in Bama’s regular rotation, maybe three or four didn’t totally embarrass themselves in Rupp Arena. The starting frontcourt of Shannon Hale, Riley Norris and Jimmie Taylor combined for eight points, two field goals and seven rebounds against five turnovers. Arthur Edwards went scoreless and found himself benched after halftime until the meaningless final moments. Bama had twice as many turnovers (12) as assists, and no player had more than one assist. Kentucky took its time warming up from the field but finished hitting better than 45 percent and only had four turnovers. It was a lethargic, disorganized, timid showing by the Tide, the worst in months. And after building an NCAA tournament resume in relative obscurity, all of Alabama’s flaws were on display in living color for an ESPN audience.
What was the best part of the game?: Avery Johnson yanked Obasohan out with more than five minutes left, not because the senior guard did anything wrong but because there was no reason to risk his health or energy in a lost cause. Any success Bama has the rest of the season will rest on his broad shoulders, and rest has been in short supply.
Who was the star?: Thank goodness players can’t transfer and play in the middle of a season, or John Calipari might not have let Obasohan back on the plane to Tuscaloosa. He went 9-for-13 from the field, 10-for-12 from the free throw line and threw in five rebounds for good measure. He wasn’t being greedy with scoring opportunities either, it was just that no one else stepped up. Justin Coleman was the only other player to attempt more than five shots, and he went a brutal 3-for-11.
What’s next?: After back-to-back dubious efforts, Alabama tries to get revved up for its archrival when Auburn visits Coleman Coliseum for a 4 p.m. game Saturday on the SEC Network.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris
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