Alabama Men’s Basketball Falls to Baylor, 73-68
The Alabama men's basketball team fell, 73-68, in a back-and-forth contest to the Baylor Bears at Saturday afternoon’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge in the Ferrell Center. The contest featured 12 ties and 12 lead changes, while neither team led by more than six points throughout.
Graduate student Riley Norris notched a game-high 16 points off the bench for the Crimson Tide (12-7), knocking down all six of his shots from the floor, including going 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. Junior Tevin Mack and freshman Kira Lewis Jr. each recorded 15 points in the game, with Lewis adding six assists and five rebounds in the loss. Senior Donta Hall had 11 points and seven rebounds to go along with three blocks.
“You have to give credit to (head coach) Scott Drew and Baylor today,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “They played tough and outrebounded us, which rarely happens. They just did a good job hustling – converting our turnovers into points and doubling us up on second-chance points. We just didn’t have our best game today. There were some stretches where we played well and were able to get the ball inside against their zone. I thought Riley gave us some big minutes off the bench, but we just didn’t play enough of a 40-minute game to win on the road. I thought this was the opposite of how we played our last game at home, but give them credit because they had a lot to do with that.”
With game coming down to the wire and the score tied at 61-61 with just over three minutes remaining, Baylor (13-6) went on a 6-0 spurt over the next minute to take control of the game at 67-61.
However, Alabama would not go down without a fight. After a Norris three-pointer trimmed the lead to 69-66 with 32 seconds left to play, the Tide forced what appeared to be a turnover to regain possession. But, after an official review, it was determined the ball went off an Alabama player. From there, the Bears made 4-of-6 free throws and held UA to just a lay-up in the waning seconds, resulting in the final score.
Alabama battled hard from the beginning and took its largest lead of the game at 22-17 with 9:16 remaining before intermission. Baylor would respond by scoring seven straight points and eventually went on to lead by six, 36-30, at the half.
The Tide would respond to begin the second half by scoring seven straight points to regain the lead at 37-36 just 1:55 into the final stanza. From that point, neither team led by more than four points before Baylor’s game-clinching spurt in the final minutes.
Baylor became just the second team to outrebound Alabama this season, owning a 35-31 advantage on the glass. A lot of the Bears’ damage was done on the offensive boards, as they owned a 16-9 edge in that category which resulted in an 18-9 advantage in second chance points.
The Tide shot 50.9 percent from the field but knocked down just 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) shots from beyond the arc. Defensively, Alabama held Baylor to 44.8 percent from the floor and just 27.3 percent (6-of-22) from three-point range.
Alabama owned a 48-38 advantage in points in the paint and a 22-21 edge in bench points, but Baylor turned 13 UA turnovers into 24 second chance points.
Alabama will next return home to take on Mississippi State on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on SEC Network.