Well, at least this game was different. Normally we spend the first half setting the game of basketball back a few decades. Today, we played arguably the best half of basketball we have all year in the first half. We had great spacing and ball movement on offense, played at a reasonably fast tempo, took care of the basketball, and generally defended well.
The second half was more like every game we've seen in Memorial Gymnasium the last 30 years or so. Every questionable call went against us, and Vandy made just about every 3 and free throw they took. The names and players change but the script stays the same.
I think our lack of depth caught up with us in the second half. We only went 8 deep, including Dakota Slaughter who played 7 minutes and made a three. I do not understand why Devin Mitchell did not get into the game.
Vandy made 5 straight from downtown to start the second half and erase our 14 point lead. It would have been nice to call a timeout at some point and try to stop their momentum and maybe give our guys a breather.
Kessens was a question mark but he was able to play, and I thought he played well, scoring 10 points in his 15 minutes. Retin, Levi, and Coop all stepped up and played well. Unfortunately, Riley had an off day when we badly needed him to take up the slack from missing Shannon Hale.
Even though we out-rebounded them, we failed to get the boards when needed. I thought a key possession in the game came with about 6 minutes left after we cut their lead down to 4. We allowed Vandy to score on their third opportunity, then Levi had a bad turnover at the other end which led to another Vandy score. Give credit to the Dores for making the plays and being automatic from the free throw line down the stretch.
Kudos to the Nashville area Bama fans for representing and the North Alabama contingent who made the trip. I could hear you guys over the television when things were going well in the first half.
Up next, the Ole Miss Rebels come in for a 6 pm tipoff Tuesday night at Coleman Coliseum. It's the last home game of the season, so if you can do so, please come out and show your appreciation for seniors Levi Randolph and Rodney Cooper. The game will be televised on SEC Network.