Bama Hoops Hype

RECAP: Alabama Defeats No. 12 Oklahoma in Battle of the Point Guards

Alabama Men's Basketball

TUSCALOOSA – In front of a sold-out Coleman Coliseum and 57 NBA Scouts, it was Alabama’s freshmen that put on a show in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Crimson Tide came away with an 80-73 win against No. 12 Oklahoma behind 44 points from Avery Johnson’s true freshmen.

The spotlight was on the matchup between freshmen point guards Collin Sexton and Trae Young. And they both delivered.

Sexton won the scoring battle and finished with 18 points, scoring 9 points in both halves. Sexton was 8-for-14 from the field and played a team-high 32 minutes. It was the freshman’s first game at Coleman Coliseum since January 9th. Sexton also added 3 rebounds and 2 assists. The most impressive part of his day may have been his defense against Young.

Oklahoma’s star finished with 17 points on 17 shot attempts. Young was 4-for-9 from beyond the arc and started to heat up in the second half. He hit his fourth triple of the game with 11:12 to go and gave Oklahoma its biggest lead of the day. However, Alabama’s defense stepped it up and did not allow Young to score again.

Sexton was joined by fellow freshman Herbert Jones in guarding Young and turning defense into offense. Jones scored a season-high 14 points on 60 percent shooting. He added 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and one block. The moments that Jones provided in the second half – dunks and steals – helped put energy back in the crowd despite Oklahoma’s runs.

With a packed student section welcoming the players to the court for warmups, it did not take long for the teams to put together a show. Petty knocked down his first 3-pointer of the game to give Alabama the first lead of the day. Alabama led by as many as 13 points in the opening period.

The hosts held off multiple Oklahoma runs and used the home crowd’s energy to bounce back down the stretch. After the Sooners took a 60-55 lead on Young’s 3-pointer, Alabama responded with a 13-0 run that included two 3-pointers by Braxton Key. Key finished with 11 points and his second double-digit scoring effort of the season.

Donta Hall was still wearing a brace on his right wrist and was limited to just 24 minutes despite getting his first start since the injury. The junior center finished with 9 points, 7 rebounds and a career-high 8 blocks.

Alabama turned the ball over 17 times but was able to limit the damage. The Sooners finished with 0 fast break points and the Crimson Tide equaled the visitor’s 18 points off turnovers. Alabama improved to 7-0 when it has turned the ball over at least 16 times.

Oklahoma (15-5) had four different starters finish in double figures but only got 3 points from its bench. As a team, the visitors shot 40.8 percent from the field which is their third worst performance of the season. Khadeem Lattin led the way for the Sooners, finishing with 18 points and 7 rebounds.

The Crimson Tide will be looking for its fourth consecutive sellout on Wednesday when they host Missouri. Alabama is currently sitting on a six-game home winning streak, which is the longest of Avery Johnson’s tenure.

Caleb Turrentine is the editor for Bama Hoops Hype. You can follow him on Twitter for in-game updates at @BamaHoopsHype.

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