By Chris DePew
Feb. 1, 2017
Arkansas showed no pity to an Alabama team struggling to get out of its own way, forcing 18 turnovers and making nearly half its shots to rout the Crimson Tide 87-68 in Fayetteville and take over fourth place in the SEC.
What did we learn today?: That Bama’s defensive effort is subject to collapse when the offense can’t keep up. The Razorbacks missed nine consecutive shots from the field during an early field goal drought that lasted some eight minutes, and all the Tide had to show for it was a middling 11-7 lead. Once Arkansas got itself together and began cranking up the pressure defense, Alabama was rendered helpless. Worse, Bama couldn’t maintain solid defensive position and quickly racked up whistles. Once Dazon Ingram and Braxton Key both sat in the second half with foul trouble, the Hogs went on a 14-0 run to blow the game open and Alabama frankly stopped competing over the last 10-11 minutes.
What were the biggest concerns?: Even when it wasn’t directly turning the ball over in the backcourt, Alabama produced little more than a confused noise against the Arkansas press, with ball-handling duties seeming to fall at times to players ill-suited to the role (think Riley Norris and Jimmie Taylor). The pressure greatly bothered Ingram and Key, who combined for seven turnovers, but that’s expected from freshmen. But it completely wrecked Corban Collins and Avery Johnson Jr., as the offense utterly collapsed when they came in the game. The Hogs made themselves at home on the 3-point line, going 11-for-23, and outscored the Crimson Tide 19-9 on the fast break.
What was the best part of the game?: Donta Hall and Taylor shot a combined 5-for-10 from the field and had six points each, but Bama couldn’t run its offense well enough to get them sufficient touches. Almost every other good thing from the last two wins went away Wednesday, but the free throw shooting was again a pleasant surprise, with the Tide hitting 80 percent. Key and Ar’Mond Davis each made six foul shots to lift them into double figure scoring.
Who was the star?: Ingram did his part to execute the gameplan, which was to get dribble penetration to the basket. After two off shooting games he went 5-for-11 from the floor and scored 14 points.
What’s next?: Two weeks after getting thumped at Auburn, Alabama’s shot at revenge arrives Saturday night in sold out Coleman Coliseum. Tipoff on the SEC Network is at 7:30 p.m. Central.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris