COLUMBIA, S.C. – This was not your Alabama, the Crimson Tide of Coach Avery Johnson that had ended South Carolina’s 15-game winning streak to start the season. This was not your Alabama that came into Saturday’s game as leading the Southeastern Conference with the fewest fouls against.
This, as it turned out, was an Alabama basketball team that got into early foul trouble and lost by 78-64 to the South Carolina Gamecocks, a team Bama had defeated by 73-50 just a few weeks ago.
How much foul trouble? The Tide was whistled for 30 fouls with four men fouling out. The Tide was outscored from the charity stripe 28-18 as the Gamecocks took advantage of 46 free throw attempts, compared to 25 for Alabama.
Senior guard Retin Obasohan, who was one of four Crimson Tide players to foul out of the contest, finished with a game-high 23 points in the losing effort.
Alabama (11-9, 2-6 SEC) struggled early, shooting just 25 percent from the field and 23 percent from deep in the first half. The Tide did briefly take the lead at 20-19, but South Carolina (19-2, 6-2 SEC) finished the half on a 16-6 run over the last 8:32. At the half, the Tide trailed, 35-26, and had turned the ball over nine times.
Out of the break, the Tide pulled within five points (45-40), but the Gamecocks used a 9-2 run to open up a 12-point lead. Seconds later, freshman Donta Hall would be the first Alabama player to foul out of the contest. Another Gamecocks run pushed the score to 60-45 with 8:53 to play.
The Tide never surrendered as Obasohan sparked a 16-7 Alabama run, while scoring 14 straight points for the Tide along the way. The run pulled Alabama to within six points, trailing 67-61 with 4:23 to play.
However, South Carolina’s Michael Carrera hit a three pointer which began a 7-0 run to take a 74-61 lead and seal the victory.
UA finished the game with 16 turnovers, nine of which came off of South Carolina steals. The Gamecocks outscored the Tide 14-4 in points off turnovers and won the rebounding battle 50-41.
In addition to Obasohan’s team-leading ninth game of 20 or more points, Shannon Hale added 16 and Riley Norris had 11. Obasohan also added team highs of six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Carrera grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and led the Gamecocks with 20 points. Sindarius Thornwell scored 14 points and recorded seven rebounds.
Alabama will stay on the road on Tuesday when it takes on Mississippi State. The Tide tips off in Starkville at 8 p.m. CST on SEC Network.