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Tough second half dooms Tide basketball team as it falls on road to Longhorns (via Crimson Magazine)

03 Dec 2016 Stan J. Griffin

By Stan J. Griffin: December 2, 2016

With Avery Johnson's University of Alabama basketball team battling Shaka Smart's Texas Longhorns at the Erwin Center Friday night, it was a matchup of young teams still searching to find an identity, as well as a big non-conference win to gain some much-needed momentum for the rest of the season.
And for a half, it appeared that the Crimson Tide was in for a big night as hot shooting carried it to a double-digit lead at the end of the first half.
But sloppy play overall and mostly cold shooting spelled doom for Alabama after the intermission as Texas rallied to gain a 77-68 home victory.
Alabama dropped to 4-3 on the season with the disappointing defeat while the Longhorns improved to 4-3.
The Crimson Tide came out scorching the nets early, hitting seven of its first 10 shots.
Four early points by freshman forward Braxton Key, including a forceful throw-down dunk, and two early 3-point bombs by senior guard Corban Collins had Alabama up 10-2, and then a slam by senior forward Jimmie Taylor allowed the Tide to stay up by eight at 12-4 at the 15:51 mark of the first half.
After the Longhorns hit a trey to cut the Alabama lead to 12-9, Collins answered with another 3-pointer to make the score 15-9, and junior forward Riley Norris hit a basket to make it 17-9.
After sophomore forward Donta Hall slammed home two points for the Tide to make the UA lead 25-16, the Longhorns scored the next six to trim that lead to 25-22 at the 7:01 mark.
But big baskets by freshman guard Dazon Ingram, junior guard Nick King (a 3-polnter) and sophomore guard Avery Johnson Jr. led a 7-2 Tide spurt that boosted the Alabama lead back to 32-22.
With just under three minutes remaining, Key hit a 3-pointer to give him seven points and put the visiting Tide up 35-24, and Alabama led 38-26 at halftime as senior forward Shannon Hale hit a trey right before the first half buzzer.
The Tide hit 48 percent of its shots in the first 20 minutes and had six treys. Collins paced UA with nine points.


But as hot as Alabama was to open up the first half of play, it was equally cold to begin the second half.
Texas scored 10 of the first 11 points to begin the half, cutting the Tide lead to 39-36 at the 16:28 mark.
Norris ended that run with a 3-pointer to put the Tide back up by six at 42-36, but Texas to put a dent in the Tide lead, trimming the advantage to 42-40 with 14:31 remaining.
With just under 13 minutes left, Smart's team hit a trey to take its first lead of the contest at 45-44.
Ingram hit a trey to put Alabama back on top 47-45, and with the score tied at 47-47, the Tide used a 6-2 spurt to build a lead of 53-49, and Johnson Jr. capped that run with a 3-pointer.
For awhile after this the game was back and forth with the lead changing hands several times, and with 4:32 remaining the Tide was back up 62-60 after an Ingram dunk.
But with 3:59 left and the Tide leading narrowly 63-62, the Longhorns tallied five points in a row to take their biggest lead of the contest at that point at 67-63.
Alabama, meanwhile, was in a cold stretch, missing several of its shot attempts badly.
The Texas lead reached 70-63 before Ingram finally ended the Tide drought with a basket to make the score 70-65, but now there were only 34 seconds left.
The Tide never got any closer than four points the rest of the way, as Texas sealed the win at the free throw line.
Ingram led the Tide with 12 points, with Johnson Jr. adding 10 and Collins and Norris adding nine each.
Key led UA with seven rebounds, while Ingram had six and Hall five. Ingram also had six assists and two steals.
Alabama shot 45.3 percent from the field and Texas outrebounded UA 35-27. Texas outscored the Tide in points off turnovers 15-7. It also had 38 points in the paint to 28 for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama returns to action on Sunday, Dec. 11 as it travels to Eugene Oregon to battle the Oregon Ducks. That game is set for a 5 p.m. CT tip and the game will be televised by ESPNU.

Special thanks: Alabama Athletics Communications

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