Edit-(bobbyjack) add Box Score
Lazy passes, a lack of clutch free throw shooting, and some questionable calls were too much for the Tide to overcome against a determined auburn team.
The Tigers started the game on a 7-0 run, but Alabama kept its poise and managed to come back to take the lead into halftime. We had a size advantage on them in the post, but I do not feel we did enough to exploit it. Green had a decent game before fouling out, but I believe he could have had a much better game had he played more aggressively on offense. We are still shooting too many fade away shots that are not falling. Justin Knox played well when he was in there, but Chris Hines did not have a very good game. Green's foul trouble was huge, as we really missed him the last 3 minutes.
Auburn played a tight man to man defense that gave us a lot of problems. They were able to overplay the passing lanes, and we made a number of dumb or lazy passes which resulted in steals and easy baskets in transition for auburn. Otherwise, our defense was very effective. Brock and Hillman got a number of steals out of the press, and we limited their outside shooting in the halfcourt. They did not shoot as many 3s as they have in recent games, instead using their smaller, quicker guards to attack the basket and draw fouls from our big men.
In the second half we were able to build a 6 point and 7 point lead on 2 occasions, but could not put the game away. Each time we got a decent lead, auburn would quickly get a couple of scores to bring it back to within a one possession game. Torrance had a solid game overall, but the usually consistent free throw shooter probably cost us the game at the line. With a 1 point lead in the final 30 seconds, he missed the front end of a one and one. If we can make 2 free throws there to go up 3, we most likely hold on to win the game. Instead, auburn has a chance to shoot 2 FTs at the other end, and they make one to tie the game. Torrance then gets the ball stolen with about 10 seconds left. I thought there should have been a foul called, but no such luck in auburn. Down 1 with 2.5 seconds left, we threw it the length of the court to Knox, who again appeared to be fouled as he lost the ball and time expired. Had Know been able to hold on to the ball, Torrance would have had a great look for the game winning jump shot.
I'm glad I will never have another reason to set foot into that dump known as Beard-Eaves Memorial. It was unbearably hot, and dark, in the upper level. The seats are made of wood and uncomfortable, to say the least. The men's restrooms consist of 3 troughs and 2 stalls. The councouse is tiny. The video board is actually made up of 9 smaller screens, all with different color contrasts and very little brightness. The screen went out completely on several occasions, so trying to watch replays was pretty much useless. They have no stat boards whatsoever, and the scoreboard does not even indicate the number of remaining timeouts, which is something you would like to know in a close game like this. I would estimate the crowd to be about 7,000 or so. We were represented by probably about 500 or so fans scattered throughout the arena. At one point, an Alabama fan sitting behind the basket caught a T-shirt that was tossed into the crowd, and not wanting the auburn shirt he threw it back to the cheerleader. An auburn fan cried to the cops about this, who actually threw the guy out for throwing a freaking T-shirt.
I'm afraid we will look back at this game and the Vandy game at the end of the season as the reasons why we are not dancing. It was a golden opportunity and a very winnable road game that we let slip away. Up next, the Florida Gators come to Coleman Coliseum Thursday night for a 6pm tipoff on ESPNU. This is almost a must win game now, with a 3-4 record and road trips to Ole Miss and Kentucky looming.