Bama Hoops Hype

RECAP: Alabama Falls to Kentucky Again in SEC Tournament Semifinals

Alabama Men's Basketball

Alabama ran into its kryptonite on Saturday in St. Louis.

The Crimson Tide was knocked out of the SEC Tournament by Kentucky for the third consecutive season. The Wildcats advanced to Sunday’s championship game with an 86-63 win, its 10th straight win over Alabama.

Kentucky (23-10) made 16 of its 19 shot attempts, including all eight of nine from beyond the arc, in the second half to open up the big lead. For the game, the Wildcats shot 64.3 percent from the field and 66.7 percent on 3-pointers. Both of those percentages were the highest by an Alabama opponent this season.

Wenyen Gabriel was the star of the night for Kentucky. The sophomore made all seven of his 3-point attempts and finished with a game-high 23 points. He is just one of two players in Kentucky’s rotation that is not a freshman.

Gabriel was not the only player in blue that was connecting from the outside. Five different players made a 3-pointer for the Wildcats. In the first meeting with Alabama, it was Kentucky’s ability to rebound and play in the post that pushed it to victory. On Saturday, the Wildcats only scored 18 points in the paint and finished with 0 second chance points.

The two teams combined to start nine freshmen in the semifinal matchup and they all got off to an ugly start. Neither team reached double figures in points until the 13:12 mark of the first half. The game featured more turnovers than made field goals in the first 15 minutes. Alabama scored three points in the final 6:55 of the first half, allowing the Wildcats to take a 10-point lead into the locker room.

The Crimson Tide continued to struggle throughout the day from the field, shooting just 38 percent from the field. Sophomores Braxton Key and Dazon Ingram combined for just seven points on 3-for-16 shooting (0-for-7 on threes).

Collin Sexton continued his strong performance in St. Louis. The freshman scored 21 points and set Alabama’s all-time individual scoring record for a single SEC Tournament. Sexton added five rebounds and three assists in a team-high 36 minutes on the court.

John Petty heated up late in the game to give the Tide a chance down the stretch. He completed an and-1 layup to cut Kentucky’s lead to single digits for the first time in the second half with 5:15 to go. That’s when Gabriel knocked down his seventh triple of the game and the Cats never looked back. Petty finished with 18 points and made five 3-pointers.

Alabama (19-15) dropped in the SEC Tournament semifinals for the second consecutive year. The Crimson Tide will now wait to hear their name called on Selection Sunday. The show will be aired on TBS this year and is set to get started at 5 p.m. CT.

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

Facebook Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment Login