Rapid Reaction: Alabama survives scare from Kentucky to improve to 9-0 in SEC play
The Alabama Crimson Tide men’s basketball team might have given in to the “rat poison,” to borrow a phrase from football coach Nick Saban.
Up to No. 9 in this week’s AP Poll, the Tide struggled mightily at home against unranked Kentucky, a team that has been an up-and-down mess all season long.
It was a battle all night long, but at the end of the second half, Kentucky’s problems closing games — something that has hampered the team all season — came back to bite it again.
After trailing 54-52 with 4:37 left in the second half, the Tide went on an 8-0 run to take a 60-54 lead and basically ice the game. Alabama ended up winning with a final score of 70-59. It was Alabama’s first season-sweep of Kentucky since 1988-89.
How did Kentucky stay so close for much of the game? Keeping the Tide from lighting it up beyond the 3-point arc. Alabama made only 6 of its 20 3-point shots. Jaden Shackelford led the way with 21 points, but he was only 1-for-6 from behind the arc. Freshman Josh Primo added 10 points. Sharpshooter John Petty Jr. couldn’t get going, scoring only 10 points.
But, Herb Jones played another outstanding game. He only had 13 points, but he had a near triple-double with 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. The way he impacts every aspect of the game is incredible.
Now, the Tide will turn their attention to a game against ranked Oklahoma in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday. Meanwhile, Kentucky will host No. 5 Texas.