Bama Hoops Hype

RECAP: Rebounds, Turnovers Doom Tide in Lexington

Alabama Men's Basketball

Today’s lesson: Kentucky in Rupp Arena is still Kentucky in Rupp Arena.

The Wildcats snapped a four-game losing streak and defeated Alabama 81-71 in Lexington on Saturday afternoon. Kentucky used an 11-2 run in the game’s final minutes to pull away from Alabama. The Crimson Tide dropped to 17-10 on the season and 8-6 in SEC play.

In a game of two of the nation’s youngest teams, it was the freshmen in blue that kept their composure in front of 23,000 friendly faces. Alabama had five of its seven turnovers in the final three minutes of the game, allowing Kentucky’s four-point lead to grow to as much as 11 points.

While turnovers allowed the home team to run away in the end, it was the rebounds that put the Wildcats in the lead for most of the game. Kentucky had 20 offense rebounds and 20 second chance points. It is the most offensive rebounds that Alabama has given up all season and the minus-17 rebounding margin is its second worst of the season.

This game had 15 total lead changes so the Crimson Tide had its chances in one of the toughest road games of the season. Alabama’s largest lead was just three points early in the first half but the visitors took a 59-58 lead on a Donta Hall free throw with 8:34 to go in the game. The team only made three field goals for the rest of the game.

Hall finished with a team-high 16 points despite appearing to reinjure his right wrist in the first half. The junior was 7-for-8 from the field and finished with six rebounds and two blocks. However, Hall was held to just four points in the game’s final 12 minutes and he did not attempt a shot in the final eight minutes.

Three of the Tide’s freshmen turned in double-digit scoring performances. Pelham native Alex Reese scored 10 points in the first half, matching his career high. He added four rebounds, one block and one steal in 15 minutes on the court.

Freshman guards Collin Sexton and John Petty combined for 25 points but struggled from the field for most of the game. Sexton shot 4-for-11 and missed all four of his 3-point attempts before fouling out in the final minute. Petty was 3-for-11 from the field, which is relatively normal for the first-year sharpshooter. His three 3-pointers are the second most in a road game for him this season.

Kentucky (18-9, 7-7) shot 43.8 percent from the floor and had its own struggle with turnovers throughout the game. Freshman P.J. Washington had five of the team’s 13 turnovers but still finished with a team-high 16 points. Kevin Knox played limited minutes in the first half because of foul trouble but he scored all 13 of his points in the final 13:22 to lead the Wildcats to victory.

Alabama’s road trip continues on Wednesday and it is not getting any easier. The Crimson Tide travel to face the SEC-leading Auburn Tigers in a rematch of the Tide’s 76-71 win in Tuscaloosa. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on SEC Network.

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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