Alabama No Match For No. 1-Ranked Kentucky

When one team doubles up the score against another early in the game, that’s often manageable. As it continues, though, the margin becomes greater and the challenge far more difficult.

Alabama seemed to have a passive game plan, a slow down offense that resulted in hasty (mostly bad) shots to beat the shot clock and a zone defense that was riddled inside and out by Kentucky. The Tide seemed to pick it up in the second half, but the issue pretty much had been decided by inermission.

In the end, Coach Anthony Grant’s Crimson Tide was pretty much humiliated, losing 70-48.

At least the more aggressive play in the second half gave the first sellout crowd of the year something to cheer about. (And, yes, a large contingent of Kentucky fans had bought tickets in areas where Alabama season ticket-holders formerly sat.) The Crimson and White parade to the exits, however, was in full march with about eight minutes to play; and hurried retreat four minutes later.)

Alabama had the lead at 4-2 over Kentucky early Saturday at Coleman Coliseum. A few minutes later it was doubling up the other way. Kentucky 9-4, Kentucky 12-6, Kentucky 29-14, until finally at halftime it was Kentucky 35, Alabama 17.

The only area in which Alabama would hae doubled up Kentucky is the same place that every Southeastern Conference team has higher numbers: personal fouls. To be fair, it was only Alabama 19, Kentucky 14.

Kentucky, the nation’s No. 1 team, improved to 17-0 overall and 4-0 in SEC play. Bama fell to 12-5 overall, 2-2 in the conference.

Alabama continues in SEC play and continues playing against a ranked team when the Crimson Tide goes to Arkansas Thursday for a 6 p.m. CST game. Bama’s next home game will be next Saturday, Jan. 24, against Auburn.

Alabama had only two players in double figures, Levi Randolph with 13 and Rodney Cooper with 10. The Wildcats had only three in double figures and also a high scorer with only 13, Devin Booker. Tyler Ulis and Dakari Johnson had 11 each.

Kentucky hit 23-46 from the field for 50 per cent and Bama 20-45 for 44.4 per cent. The Wildcats make 8-17 on treys (47.1 per cent) and the Tide 5-18 (27.8 per cent). UK had a huge advantage at the free throw line making 16-18 (88.9 per cent) while the home team hit 3-7 for 42.9 per cent.

Kentucky out-rebounded Alabama 30-21. The Cats had 11 offensive rebounds and Bama 8. Kentucky scored 10 second chance points, Alabama 7.

The Tide had 15 turnovers and four assists and Kentucky 10 turnovers and 14 assists. Alabama had several unforced turnovers (unless you credit the tenacity of UK for forcing a lack of concentration). Kentucky had 17 points off turnovers, Bama 10.

TIDE NOTES: Alabama starters were center Jimmie Taylor, forward Michael Kessens, wing Rodney Cooper, guard Levi Randolph, and point guard Retin Obasohan.

Saturday’s loss was Bama’s first at home, coming in the 11th game.

Alabama now is 4-6 all-time in games against the nation’s No. 1 ranked team and 2-1 in Coleman Coliseum in such games.

Kentucky has now won 9 of the last 11 meetings and has an all-time advantage in the series of 104-37.

Alabama and Kentucky play again in just two weeks, meeting in Lexington on Saturday, Jan. 31.

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