Bama Hoops Hype

RECAP: Alabama Advances to SEC Semis Behind Sexton’s Stunning Second Half

Alabama Men's Basketball

Collin Sexton stole the show in St. Louis again on Friday, leading the Crimson Tide to an 81-63 win over the top-seeded Auburn Tigers. Alabama’s freshman finished with 31 points and led his team to a dominant second half performance.

Sexton was efficient throughout the game, shooting 10-for-16 from the field and 6-for-8 from beyond the arc. The six 3-pointers in a single game was a career high for the SEC Co-Freshman of the Year. Sexton added seven rebounds and one assist in 34 minutes on the court.

Alabama shot 56 percent and outscored the Tigers by 28 points in the second half. The Crimson Tide knocked down six 3-pointers and outrebounded Auburn by 14.

Braxton Key played a big role off the bench for the Crimson Tide. He led the team with a season-high 10 rebounds and scored 9 points, finishing one shot shy of his first career double-double. Key played 30 minutes, adding three assists and two steals. The sophomore finished with zero turnovers for just the third time in his career.

In the first half, the Crimson Tide could not stop Auburn’s 3-point barrage. The Tigers made seven shots from beyond the arc in a single half against Alabama for the third time this season. Mustapha Heron made the team’s first two attempts to set the tone but it was Desean Murray who stood out in the first 20 minutes.

Murray scored all 15 of his points in the opening period. He knocked down three 3-pointers and scored the final five points to give Auburn a 41-31 lead going to the locker room.

Sexton came out firing in the second half though. The freshman knocked down three shots from beyond the arc before the first media timeout as the Crimson Tide took a 45-42 lead. Sexton’s go-ahead shot helped him break the all-time Alabama scoring record for a freshman.

The second half run did not stop there though. Sexton added an and-1 jumper with 8:14 to go in the game to cap Alabama’s 35-7 run. The Tide led by as many as 22 points and ended up handing Auburn its largest defeat of the season.

For the game, the Tigers shot just 32.3 percent from the floor – their second lowest percentage of the season. Auburn made just one 3-pointer in the second half and finished 24.2 percent from deep – also matching its second lowest percentage of the season.

Dazon Ingram scored in double figures for the second consecutive game. The sophomore finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists in 32 minutes of playing time. Alabama is now 10-1 on the season when he scores more than 10 points.

Donta Hall had a scary finish to his day. The Tide’s junior center appeared to hit his head on the court while attempted to block a shot in the second half. He did not return to the game but Alabama has no update on his status as of right now. Hall finished with 11 points and 6 rebounds.

With the win on Friday, Alabama should be sitting in a good position with the NCAA Tournament selection committee. The Crimson Tide improved to 19-14 on the season and earned their seventh quadrant 1 win.

“We have just been trying to build a resume all season long,” Avery Johnson said on ESPN after the game. “If you’re looking for a team with an impressive resume, we think we’re one of those teams.”

Johnson’s team will be playing the SEC semifinals for a second consecutive season. Alabama will tip off at noon CT on Saturday against Kentucky.

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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