👨🏻‍💻 Tsoukalas No. 6 Alabama falls flat in road loss to No. 20 Arkansas

Tony_Tsoukalas

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No. 6 Alabama basketball’s plans of clinching the regular-season SEC title will have to wait. The Crimson Tide suffered another slow start before falling apart in the second half Wednesday night as it suffered a 81-66 loss at No. 20 Arkansas.

Following the defeat, Alabama (18-6, 13-2 in the SEC) saw its lead on the SEC standings slip to 2.5 games as Arkansas (18-5, 10-4) recorded its eighth straight conference victory. The Tide had not won at Arkansas since 2012, extending its losing streak inside of Bud Walton Arena to five games.

"Disappointing loss, Arkansas outplayed us," Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. "They were ready to go. It seemed like every loose ball they were getting. They made some tough plays."

Alabama has two games remaining in its regular-season schedule with the possibility of a make-up game after seeing its matchup at Texas A&M postponed last week. Second-place Arkansas also has two games on its schedule with the potential of a makeup game. An Alabama win or an Arkansas loss would clinch the regular-season title for the Tide.

Earlier this season, Alabama dismantled Arkansas with a 31-point victory inside of Coleman Coliseum. Early Wednesday night, the Tide ran the risk of ending up on the wrong side of a similarly lopsided scoreline.

Alabama once again dug itself into a hole as it couldn’t buy a bucket early on. The Tide started the game 6 of 22 from deep, including 1 of 11 from beyond the arc and allowed the Razorbacks to lead by as many as 12 points midway through the half.

Jordan Bruner, who made his second straight start after missing nine games with a knee injury, kept Alabama in the game making four straight 3s to help the Tide trim its deficit to 39-38 at the half. That momentum carried over after the break as Alabama scored the first 7 points of the second half. However, Arkansas responded with a 17-2 run to retake control of the game.

After recording a season-high 28 points against Alabama earlier this season, Arkansas freshman Moses Moody led the Razorbacks with 24 points to go with five rebounds and four assists.

Bruner led Alabama with 14 points. He was joined in double figures by Jahvon Quinerly (12 points) and John Petty Jr. (12points).

Juwan Gary returned to action for the Tide after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury. He recorded 9 points while leading the team with nine rebounds.

"He's big," Oats said of Gary. "Nine points, nine rebounds 16 and a half minutes. His effort was great. He had four O-boards, I mean he was all over the place. He played hard. We've got to get some more guys to play that hard.

"Juwan, that's kind of his deal. He's an effort guy, he's a high-energy guy. I think he goes hard. Some of our more skilled guys, if they played that hard some of those points would take care of themself."

Alabama shot just 38 percent from the floor while allowing Arkansas to shoot 46 percent on the night. The Crimson Tide continued to struggle at the rim, resulting in the Razorbacks holding a 36-28 advantage in the paint. Arkansas held a distinct edge in terms of free throw attempts, getting to the line 43 times compared to just eight for Alabama. The Tide was whistled for 32 fouls, surpassing its previous high of 27 during its SEC opener against Ole Miss.

When asked about his thoughts of the officiating after the game, a frustrated Oats elected not to criticize the officials, quipping that he wasn't "trying to give any money back to anybody."

"Part of it is we were fouling some," he continued. "We've got to move our feet. We've got to get in position. We've got to try not to foul 3-point shooters."

Petty was less reserved in his opinions of the officials. The senior guard was ejected after picking up his second technical for voicing his frustration following a foul call with 1:01 remaining.

"They had him in a trap," Oats said of the play. "John didn't think they fouled him. I didn't either. I'd have to look at the replay to see for sure. When the ref called the foul on him, I think he was a little frustrated. He maybe felt like he got bumped on some earlier that didn't get called.

"It's a tough game. There's a lot of contact, and we got called for a lot of fouls. He said something he shouldn't to a ref. I don't know what it was, but obviously, he shouldn't have said it."

The Crimson Tide has now lost its last three games against ranked opponents, dropping road matchup at then-ranked No. 24 Oklahoma and No. 18 Missouri earlier this year.

Alabama will now look to lock up its first regular-season title since 2002 over the weekend as it travels to Mississippi State on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT.
 
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BamaNavyCPO

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Wrong headline - "Moses Moody falls flat without being touched, still sent to the free throw line" is your new title.
HELL YEAH! Well played! You can't beat anyone if you're not allowed to play. Usually blaming the refs is a convenient copout, but in this case it was 8 v. 5 when the ball was in play. A 43 - 8 FT shooting advantage is hard, if not impossible, to overcome.
 
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