Well, there’s now just one undefeated team left in college basketball, and it’s not Auburn. The Tigers fell to Alabama tonight in Tuscaloosa to drop their first game of the season. It was a mistake-filled night for the Tigers, but hopefully they were able to get much of that out of their system. To be fair, many people expected this outcome tonight with the way that Alabama had been playing of late and with the mounting pressure of staying undefeated.
Auburn once again started off slowly, but this time against a team that could shoot the three and had a rabid dilapidated gym full of miscreants behind them, it was too much to handle in the end. The Tigers never led in this game, falling behind from the jump, and dropped the first game of the season. A John Petty three got the Tide a 5-0 lead, and while Auburn could pull within one possession, they could never take the lead. Austin Wiley scored 6 straight points to bring the Tigers back to an 11-10 deficit, but Alabama ran out a 10-1 spurt to take a 21-11 edge with 7:47 to go in the first half.
The Tigers were able to run off a couple straight buckets, but a 21-17 Alabama lead turned into a 36-22 lead quickly thanks to threes from Beetle Bolden and Alex Reese. However, Isaac Okoro gave Auburn something to feel good about heading into halftime with a three immediately followed by a steal and dunk. At the intermission, the Tigers trailed 36-27.
Unfortunately, the second half wasn’t any better. Auburn found a little more momentum to begin the period, but could only pull within a couple points before Alabama reestablished leads of 49-41, then 55-47, before running out another double digit margin on a Bolden layup to take a 61-50 lead. From there, they were able to hold the Tigers at bay, as Auburn couldn’t help but fouling and never found an offensive rhythm.
Overall, Auburn shot just 32% while Alabama hit 42% of its field goals. Auburn also only managed to make 16-27 free throws, while the Tide went 20-26, making 11 straight in the second half. Auburn turned the ball over 19 times, and got outscored in the paint 30-18 to a smaller team. Isaac Okoro led the Tigers with 13 points, while both Austin Wiley and Anfernee McLemore had 10, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Up next for the Tigers, it’s another tough road game at Florida, this coming Saturday. War Eagle.