Forty minutes wasn’t sufficient for the Iron Bowl of basketball. After a back-and-forth second half, in some ways mirroring the group’s prior assembly a month in the past, No. 2 Alabama was an excessive amount of for Auburn.
Four completely different Crimson Tide gamers made four-straight pictures in an additional time interval after three of the Tigers’ most impactful gamers fouled out. Ahead by two with a few minute remaining, Jaden Bradley and Mark Sears nabbed a pair of offensive rebounds, ultimately getting Bradley to the road to ice it out. By the ultimate buzzer, a season of historic success hit one other milestone in thrilling style.
After reaching its highest rank ever within the Associated Press ballot. After steamrolling the convention with 11 wins by a minimum of double-digits that the group report set in 1956, per UA Athletics. After a 15-0 undefeated dwelling season, the primary because the Tide went 19-0 in 2010-11, Alabama was ready so as to add one other honorific to this 12 months’s group: outright regular-season Southeastern Conference champions.
In entrance of a raucous Coleman Coliseum, the No. 2 Tide (26-4, 16-1) took the lead late for a 90-85 victory. Three completely different gamers scored 17 factors as Sears and Noah Clowney scored key baskets and Brandon Miller (17 factors on three discipline targets and 10 free throws) couldn’t discover a rhythm.
Meanwhile, Auburn (19-11, 9-8), set a brand new season-high in 3-pointers made (12) and total proportion (12-for-20). It additionally out-rebounded the Tide for a lot of the contest. Yet, with three of the Tigers prime scorers ending the sport — Allen Flanigan (17 factors), Jaylin Williams (15) and Johni Broone (10) every fouled out — there was a scarcity of scoring and inside defensive choices in crunch time. Bruce Pearl’s squad added a aggressive exhibiting to its March Madness resume however not the Quadrant 1 win it went into this week searching for.
Led by Ok.D. Johnson’s 21 factors, together with 4 3-pointers made in 5 tries, Auburn’s one-on-one shotmaking was distinctive. Using off-ball screens and dribble handoffs, the Tigers created room close to the paint and benefited from turnaround leap pictures. It appeared within the opening body and for a lot of the second half, every time the group would attain a crescendo, Johnson, Williams or Flanigan would reply.
Heading into halftime with a seven-point lead, a pocket of blue- and orange-clad followers began a “Let’s go Auburn” chant as Alabama entered the tunnel.
Starting about midway by the second half, Alabama started to claw again from a 17-point deficit. The absence of Broome solely confused Auburn’s deficiencies on the inside. Dylan Cardwell, its backup heart, hobbled off the courtroom late with an obvious decrease proper leg harm and by no means returned. Alabama transformed 18 of its 27 layup makes an attempt whereas Auburn went seven of 21 from up shut. At one level, Auburn had a virtually six-minute stretch with no discipline targets and 5 turnovers.
As it did towards Arkansas and on the Plains on Feb. 11, Alabama began to make its pictures, sparking a 14-0 run. Sears and Clowney got here out of the break and hit two 3s. Screens atop the important thing began to pop open house close to the rim. Even Miller, whose presence was felt most within the further interval, labored into the lane and drew consideration from others.
A double technical foul led to a multi-minute stoppage within the second half. After the referees reviewed a scrum on the courtroom the place gamers from each groups needed to be separated, Broome fouled out for Auburn and Alabama’s Charles Bediako and Rylan Griffin have been ejected.
Alabama attacked the paint afterward whereas Auburn fell off from 3-point vary. The Tigers made 9 of their first 11 however then missed six of their final 9.
The night time ended with a ladder arrange underneath a basket and celebratory music blasting by the rafters.
Oats’ second title in his four-year tenure units the Tide up because the one-seed in subsequent week’s convention event in Nashville. With the double-bye, Alabama is within the driver’s seat for an NCAA Tournament one-seed, which may doubtlessly see them play their opening two video games in Birmingham.
This publish will likely be up to date.
Nick Alvarez is a reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @nick_a_alvarez or e mail him at NAlvarez@al.com.