Alabama junior forward Shannon Hale made a steal and dunk go-ahead score with 19 seconds to play and the Crimson Tide – which had led most of the game – held on for a 51-50 win over Clemson in Greenville, S.C., Sunday.
The third straight one-possession game was Bama’s fourth consecutive victory away from home and improved Alabama’s record to 6-2. It is the first time since the 2001-02 season an Alabama team has won four consecutive away games.
Tide senior guard Retin Obasohan had a career-high 23 points on 9-16 shooting (including 4-7 on three-pointers).
Alabama had an advantage of 44-30 in rebounding, with the Crimson Tide grabbing 21 offensive boards while Clemson had only 9 offensive rebounds. The 44 rebounds was a season-high for Alabama. It was only the second time this year the Tide has won the rebounding battle, and Bama did it without its leading rebounder this year, Dazon Ingram, who has been lost for the season with a broken ankle.
Coach Avery Johnson’s Bama team, which has not been in Tuscaloosa since Nov. 20, will host Winthrop at 8 p.m. CST Wednesday. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
Alabama led most of the game after trailing by 5-3 in the early moments, but Clemson took the lead at 50-49 in the final moments. Hale stepped in front of a Tigers pass and drove for a slam with what proved to be the winning points. The Tide defense stopped the final Clemson effort, but Riley Norris had to get the ball in bounds to seal the win. He passed it to Arthur Edwards with a second to play and Alabama had its win.
Hale helped an Alabama defense hold Clemson star Jaron Blossomgame, the Tigers’ leading scorer and rebounder, to 2-7 shooting and 8 points and 7 rebounds.
Hale also had 12 points and 7 rebounds for the Tide.
Alabama hit four early three-point shots to spark a 13-2 run and led to a 30-19 first half lead and – with Bama scoring the last four points of the half -- a 34-26 halftime lead. Obasohan at 15 points at intermission.
The Tide and Tigers struggled to begin the second half, as both teams made only four field goals over the first eight minutes. Clemson trimmed the lead to two at 45-43 midway through the second period, but a three-point play (drive and a free throw) by Hale ended the threat. However, Alabama suffered a cold streak offensively, making only two of 15 attempts from the field to allow the Tigers to stay close. A three pointer by Clemson’s Donte Grantham gave his team the lead at 50-49, their first lead since 5-3 in the opening minutes. A steal and layup by Hale with under 30 seconds remaining put the Tide back ahead at 51-50. Clemson could not get a good look at the basket on its ensuing possession, eventually knocking the ball out of bounds.
Jimmie Taylor recorded a team-high nine rebounds for Bama. Justin Coleman, who started in place of Ingram, finished with three points, five assists and a career-best five rebounds on the night.
Clemson’s Landry Nnoko finished with 15 points, and Holmes added 11. Blossomgame led the team with seven rebounds.
Alabama was able to take 61 shots from the field to only 48 by Clemson. Bama shot only 34.4 per cent (21-61) to the Tigers 18-48 for 37.5 per cent. Alabama was 7-20 on three-point tries, Clemson 4-14.