Sunday, February 02, 2020

Hog Wild, Arkansas 82 Alabama 78

The short-handed Tide dropped their second home game of the year, losing to Arkansas to fall to 12-9 (4-4).

The big news of the day was that Herbert Jones had surgery on his wrist and will likely miss about three weeks.  To say that's a huge blow to this season is an understatement.  This team was already thin, and we simply don't have anybody else capable of defending and rebounding like Herb.  For all the complaints about his inability to shoot or finish on the offensive end, he's consistently had the best plus/minus rating on the team and is the most frequent winner of the coveted hard-hat award.  It's going to be very difficult to win games without him.

In addition to Herb's absence, Beetle was still out with his GI issue, and Raymond Hawkins was quarantine from the team with the flu.  So the team went to battle with only 7 players, which is not ideal for this system.

Alabama started out on fire, building an early 12-0 lead, but they just didn't play well enough defensively to maintain it.  Arkansas chipped away and took the lead in the first half, but Alabama managed to lead by 3 going into the break.  It was a back and forth game, with the Tide leading as late as 4 minutes to play, but they simply made too many turnovers and couldn't get enough stops.  Arkansas made their free throws down the stretch to put the game away.

We ended up with 17 turnovers that Arkansas converted into 27 points.  Conversely, we only scored 13 points off of the Hogs 10 turnovers.  Credit to Jones and Whitt from Arkansas who killed us on the dribble drive and ended up with 30 and 26 points respectively.  Shack played great defense on Isiah Joe, but everyone else struggled defensively.  Alex fouled out, and we had 3 other guys playing a number of minutes with 4 fouls. 

Shack had a great game with 28 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and only one turnover.  Alex had 14 points and 7 rebounds.  Kira played the whole game and ended up with 12 points, but only 3 assists to 7 turnovers.  JP was back in the starting lineup and scored 8 points with 9 rebounds, but also coughed it up 4 times.  We really need Kira and JP to step it up on both ends of the floor with Herb out, but it wasn't the best performance from either of them.  Jaylen played 18 minutes and had 9 rebounds. 

It was another good crowd of about 12,000, and the fans were loud and supportive till the end.  I thought it was a good atmosphere and the team played hard, they just didn't have the depth necessary to beat a solid team. 

Up next, a quick turnaround as the Tennessee Vols will come to Tuscaloosa for a 6pm tipoff Tuesday night.  The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

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