The Alabama men's basketball team fell to Texas A&M, 65-56, Tuesday night inside Reed Arena. The Crimson Tide (15-11, 6-7 SEC) led for a majority of the contest, until the Aggies used a big second half run to turn a double-digit deficit into a late lead and was able to hold on for the win.

Junior Tevin Mack led all Alabama scorers with 14 points on the night to go along with a pair of steals, while graduate student Riley Norris ended the game with nine points off the bench. Sophomore John Petty entered back into the starting lineup and finished with seven points and a team-high six rebounds.

“Texas A&M deserves the credit tonight,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “They had a big second half and were able to outscore us 41-26. We got off to a slow start in the second half, helped by fouling their three-point shooters. (Savion) Flagg made two big threes on us; one to give them some momentum going into the locker room at the end of the first half and another big one in the second half. Our three-point defense, especially at critical times, let us down. Give them the credit. They played like a more desperate team in the second half. Another game that we got outrebounded and, in this league when you get outrebounded, that’s not good news for your team.”

Alabama led for more than 26 minutes and was able to build a 10-point lead in the first half. However, with the Tide leading by 11 in the final minute of the opening stanza, Texas A&M finished the half on a 5-0 spurt that was capped a three-pointer in the final seconds. The trey, which was created by a turnover, gave A&M some momentum heading into the locker room despite trailing 30-24 at intermission.

The Aggies carried the momentum at the start of the second half and pulled even at 32-32 at the 16:23 mark. However, the Crimson Tide responded by scoring 12 consecutive points over the next 3:55 to build a 44-32 lead and seemed to have seized control.

That’s when Texas A&M (11-14, 4-9) responded by scoring 13 of the game’s next 14 points to even things up at 45-45 with 7:36 remaining in regulation. After the teams traded buckets and with the score tied at 50-50, the Aggies used a 6-0 spurt to take a 56-50 lead with 4:18 left. In all, Texas A&M’s 24-6 run over a span of 8:27 turned a 12-point UA lead into a six-point deficit. The Tide would not get any closer than four points the rest of the way.

Savion Flagg and Wendell Mitchell each scored 18 points to lead the Aggies, who held a big advantage on the boards (38-31) and finished at the free throw line – hitting 15-of-16 (93.8 percent) from the charity stripe compared to Alabama’s 4-of-7 (57.1 percent). Texas A&M shot 53.6 percent and scored 41 of its 65 points over the final 20 minutes of play.

Alabama was able to outscore the Aggies in the paint, 32-22, which marked the 22nd game in which the Crimson Tide has scored 30 or more in the paint. The Crimson Tide also held an advantage with an 8-0 advantage on fast break points.

Alabama returns to action Saturday evening to take on Vanderbilt at Coleman Coliseum. The contest is set to tipoff at 5 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPNU.

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