TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – It’s been a tough 72 hours for University of Alabama athletics and Nate Oats’ basketball team hoped to change that when No. 4 Auburn visited 24th-ranked  Alabama Tuesday night at Coleman Coliseum.

To review: Saturday Oats’ team was upset at Missouri. Sunday, the Tide women blew a 19-point halftime lead in Athens and lost. Also Sunday, the Tide gymnasts lost at Oklahoma.  Monday night, the Tide football team lost in the national title game to Georgia.

Could the basketball Tide change the trend at home Tuesday in the Iron Bowl of Basketball?  No. The torment continues.

Final score; Auburn 81, Alabama 77. Alabama rallied from 14 down in the second half to tie the game at 73 with 3:44 left, but faded down the stretch.

Said Tide coach Oats: “Tough loss. Give a lot of credit to Auburn. I thought our guys fought hard until the end.

“We needed to play our best game of the year to win. We gave ourselves a chance late but we didn’t execute down the stretch. We didn’t shoot the ball well but a lot of that’s due to Auburn’s defense. They’ve got one of the best defenses in the country.

“We played harder [during the 14-0 tying run].We got seven stops that got us back in the games. Our guys did not quite finish. We’ve got to have that same sense of urgency the full 40.

“Our three starting guards shot nine-for-38. I need to ask Quinerly why he turned that shot down. Maybe he didn’t catch it clean.”

Down two in the final minute, Jahvon Quinerly inexplicably passed up an open three that could have put his team ahead. He chose to drive to the hoop and lost the ball. Bama had to foul and Allen Flanigan hit the clinching free throws.

Oats added, “Late they went to a zone and we didn’t execute against that. We got our shot blocked six times tonight. We’ve got to do a better job.”

Alabama [11-5, 2-2 SEC} was led by Quinerly with 14 points. Also in double figures for the Crimson Tide were Jaden Shackelford with 13, Noah Gurley with 11 and Darius Miles had 10. JD Davison had nine including a posterizing dunk over Auburn seven-footer Walker Kessler. Davison dealt four assists.

Auburn is now 15-1, 4-0. Superstar freshman Jabari Smith had 25 and seemed unguardable. Wendell Green Jr. added 19 including several NBA three’s..

Smith looked like he may be the SEC Freshman of the Year. Smith is THAT good and very likely one-and-done.

Next up for Alabama is a Saturday game at Mississippi State. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. CT with TV coverage provided by the SEC Network.

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