Alabama fell to 15-9 (6-5) after being blown out in Starkville. This was not a game anybody was expecting us to win and it doesn't really hurt our NCAA tournament chances, but the effort and sloppy play was very disappointing.
Both teams started off hot, with $tate making some early 3s and an aggressive T-Mack and Kira matching them on the offensive end. Unfortunately, when both teams cooled off, $tate began dominating the glass while we regularly coughed up the basketball. The result was the Bulldogs building a 10-14 point lead that they would more or less maintain for the rest of the game.
We made a few runs to cut it to 8 or 9 and it seemed like we might be able to hang around, but we always made critical mistakes when we had a chance to get closer, and they always answered to push the lead back to 14 or 15.
We ended up with 18 turnovers. It wasn't just the fact that we were turning it over, but they were the kinds of turnovers that led to easy baskets at the other end. $tate converted those 18 turnovers into 28 points. Meanwhile they out-rebounded us 35-26, leading to 19 second chance points. If you are keeping score at home, that's a whopping 47 of their 81 points off turnovers and offensive rebounds.
$tate is a good team and was playing in a must win situation at home. They were intense on defense, and their bigs did a great job on the glass. We couldn't stop Q, and I question why we kept Riley on him for so long when it was obvious he wasn't going to be able to stay in front of him.
Kira and T-Mack were our leading scorers with 17 and 13 points each, but they also combined for half of our turnovers. Dazon had 12 points and 3 turnovers. Donta ended up with 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks. JP failed to score in 23 minutes of playing time.
Up next, a huge game at home against the struggling Florida Gators. Despite the losses piling up, the Gators somehow still have a top 50 NET and are arguably a bubble team. Tip off is set for 1pm Saturday afternoon and will be broadcast on one of the ESPN stations.