Bama Hoops Hype

RECAP: Alabama Falls in Regular Season Finale, Losing Streak Hits Five Games

Alabama Men's Basketball

It was too little, too late for the Crimson Tide in College Station on Saturday. Alabama dropped its fifth consecutive game as Texas A&M held on for 68-66 win in the teams’ regular season finale. It is the program’s first five game losing streak since February 2004 and the first time since 1969 that the team finished the regular season with five straight losses.

The last chance of the game slipped out of Collin Sexton’s hands with less than 10 seconds on the clock. The freshman had just grabbed an offensive rebound off a Braxton Key missed 3-pointer but lost the ball as he attempted to go to the rim. The Aggies knocked down two free throws to put the game out of reach and make Key’s buzzer-beating shot meaningless.

Sexton led the way on offense for the visitors, reaching 20 points for the 12th time this season. He finished with 23 points on 5-of-12 shooting. The guard made 13 of his 17 free throw attempts, scoring 10 of his final 14 points at the line. Sexton added seven assists, four rebounds and two steals in his 34 minutes on the court.

Alabama fought back from an 11-point second half deficit, in large part because of Sexton’s play. After a technical foul on Texas A&M’s Tyler Davis, the Crimson Tide went on a 17-5 run to take the lead with 4:39 to go in the game. Sexton scored 7 points and added a steal and an assist during the run.

The Aggies responded well though and scored the eight points to take a 60-53 lead with 2:22 to go. The home team looked to be in control and just had to make its free throws down the stretch. Things got a little interesting in the final minute though.

After a John Petty 3-pointer cut the lead to four points with 32 seconds left, Texas A&M’s T.J. Starks seemingly made an inexcusable mistake as the Aggies lined up to put the game away at the free throw line. He pushed Sexton’s head prior to a free throw. One official saw it and they went to the monitor to review a decision that could change the end of the game. The officials came back to say that Starks would be called for a Flagrant 2 foul and would be ejected from the game. However, Sexton was also retroactively called for an unsportsmanlike technical. The Aggies got to shoot four free throws – two for the original foul and two for the technical – while Alabama got only two free throws for the flagrant foul.

Sexton was able to knock down his two free throws but the Aggies five-point lead stood up in the game’s final 30 seconds. Texas A&M’s final six points came from the free throw line.

Donta Hall was another bright spot for the Tide’s offense, especially in the second half. He scored eight of his 12 points in the game’s final 11 minutes. It was the junior’s first game to reach double figures in scoring since the loss at Kentucky. Hall added six rebounds and a block.

Galin Smith played the most minutes off of Alabama’s limited bench – Herbert Jones out with an injury and Daniel Giddens not playing because of a coach’s decision. Smith finished with four points, four rebounds and four blocks in 21 minutes.

Key and John Petty each scored seven points but struggled shooting most of the day. The two combined to make just four of their 16 shot attempts and finished with five turnovers to just two assists.

Alabama will now have to make its final case to selection committee in St. Louis next week. The Crimson Tide will either finish ninth or tenth in the conference and will be playing next Thursday in the second round of the SEC Tournament.

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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