By Chris DePew
March 2, 2016
Alabama put together a championship-worthy effort on defense but another offensive breakdown doomed the Crimson Tide as Arkansas escaped Coleman Coliseum with a 62-61 win.
What did we learn today?: The at-large tournament dream is all but dead. It is a credit to coach Avery Johnson that he had Bama in the NCAA conversation at the beginning of March with a team that struggles so much to score points. But in the end, the Tide is a team with only one reliable scorer, a too-passive frontcourt and poor shooters all around. The Tide only started two seniors in the regular season home finale, but few would be shocked if there were five new starters on the floor next November.
What were the biggest concerns?: There’s a fine line between a leader and a security blanket, and Bama has regressed by becoming too reliant on Retin Obasohan. Three times in the final 90 seconds, the Tide had the ball down only one or two points with its season on the line. Three times Bama came away empty as the Hogs double and triple-teamed Obasohan, forcing him into wild shots. Other players either declined shots or settled for fruitless 3-pointers with the clock expiring. Alabama’s other four starters combined for 12 points, entirely unacceptable for what are supposed to be SEC-caliber players.
What was the best part of the game?: Locking down the high-flying Razorbacks. Arkansas entered Wednesday among the nation’s top 10 teams in 3-point percentage at 40.7 percent, but only went 3-for-11 beyond the arc against Bama. The Hogs scored just 28 in the second half to finish well below their season average of 79.9 points per game. Alabama got the pace and style it wanted; it just couldn’t close the deal.
Who was the star?: If Alabama does indeed slip down to the NIT, then this likely won’t go down as Obasohan’s farewell to Tuscaloosa. But he made his official senior night a memorable one with 32 points on 10-for-19 shooting. His six turnovers (and zero assists) show that he was perhaps pressing things too much but on a night when only one other player (Shannon Hale, 10 points) made even a moderate contribution to the score sheet, it’s tough to complain.
What’s next?: Alabama tries to end conference play with a .500 record and reverse the momentum of a season turning sour at Georgia on Saturday. Tipoff on ESPN2 is at 3 p.m. Central.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris
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