It was weird.
Avery Johnson’s maiden Tide squad is nothing if not entertaining. During pregame, the SECnet guys got it right when they said that this edition of the Bama Hoops does not do anything particularly well, but find themselves in the game at the end. That scenario played out in Starkville tonight.
Alabama somehow survived 20 turnovers, a first half where seemingly only Retin Obasohan could find the bucket and a final period where ‘Bama overcame a seven point deficit to tie the game in regulation. But even that was an effort. As the second period drew to a close, Coach Johnson called a foul to disrupt MSU’s momentum. Everyone in the building believed Alabama had only five team fouls, meaning they had one to give. But, SEC officiating being what it is, the Tide already had six team fouls which allowed State to shoot a 1 and 1 at the line. Now, whether the Tide assistants should have relied on the official stats and not keep their own is a different story, and a question that deserves an answer. Nevertheless, an acrobatic shot by (again) Retin Obasohan tied the game.
In overtime, overtime the Tide closed it out when MSU was required to foul and Riley Norris (finally) made his free throws to seal the deal.
As we noted last week, the Tide needed to close the schedule at 7-3 to have a shot at the NCAA tournament. The Magic Number is down to six. Alabama returns to the friendly confines of Coleman Coliseum Saturday, where they will entertain SEC cellar dweller Missouri at 2:00.