Stuart McNair

Alabama gets third straight win, 63-62 over 13th ranked Texas A&M

Alabama escapes with 63-62 win when Texas A&M misses two free throws in final seconds

With all the practice Texas A&M had at the free throw line in the final five and a half minutes of the game, things looked bad for Alabama in Coleman Coliseum Wednesday night. Bama had a one-point lead with 2.3 seconds to play and the Aggies’ Anthony Collins – a 93.3 per cent free throw shooter -- was at the line shooting two..


Both missed, the ball went out of bounds off Texas A&M, and Alabama had held on for a 63-62 win over the 13th-ranked Aggies.


In the final 5:53, visiting A&M had 14 free throw opportunities. The Aggies had made 10-12 going to the last seconds.


Alabama won its third consecutive game, fourth in the last five, and improved to 14-9 overall, 5-6 in SEC games. The Aggies lost their third consecutive game and are now 18-6 overall, 7-4 in the league.


Alabama will be on the road for its next two games, at Florida Saturday, and then at LSU next Wednesday. Bama returns home Feb. 20 against Mississippi State.


Avery Johnson said he was “excited on so many levels.”


After trailing most of the first half before taking a 32-27 lead at intermission, had as much as an 11-point lead in the second half at 58-47. The game was never tied and A&M had only a brief one-point lead, 38-37, before Arthur Edwards answered with a three-pointer seconds later.


The winning point came with 2:11 to play when Retin Obasohan made one of two free throws with 2:11 to play. Obasohan, who finished with 16 points, scored the final five points of the game for Bama. With 6:34 to play, Justin Coleman made two free throws – his only points of the game – that gave the Tide its largest lead at 58-47.


Johnson called Obasohan “our superman.” He also complimented Donta Hall and Riley Norris for excellent play.


In addition to Obasohan’s 16 points, Riley Norris had 11 and Shannon Hale 10. The Aggies got 21 points from Jalen Jones. Donta Hall came off the bench and I,n 21 minutes of play had 6 points and 10 rebounds.


Alabama led the rebounding battle, 36-29, as the Tide collected 14 offensive boards, 6 by Hall.


Bama hit 22-55 field goals for 40 per cent, while Texas A&M was good on 19-45 for 42.2 per cent. The Tide connected on 8-25 three-pointers, 32 per cent, the Aggies 8-17 for 47.1 per cent. A&M made 16-23 free throws, 69.6 per cent, Bama 11-16 for 68.8 per cent.


Both teams had 13 turnovers with A&M’s coming by way of Alabama having 12 steals, three by Obasohan, two each by Norris, Coleman, and Hall.


Alabama had an advantage of 26-18 on points in the paint, 11-8 on txurnovers, 9-8 on second chance, and 8-4 on fast breaks.


Alabama had an unlikely 32-27 halftime lead after being down most of the first period. An unlikely three-point shooter, Brandon Austin, nailed a trey from the corner with 4:45 to play to give Bama its first lead of the first half at 26-23. The game had been tied only twice, at 17 and at 23.


Alabama, which had six three-pointers in the first half (three by Norris), did not give up the lead. Obasohan had his second nice reverse layup and Norris a very long trey to take the Tide to halftime with a five-point lead.


Alabama held an 18-12 advantage in rebounding in the first half.


TIDE NOTES: Alabama’s starting lineup remained as it has been recently with Retin Obasohan at point guard, Arthur Edwards and Riley Norris on the wings, Michael Kessens at high post, and Jimmie Taylor at low post.


Shannon Hale, who has been injury-plagued this season, was questionable for the game, but went in at the game’s first timeout and finished with 10 points in 18 minutes of  play.


Alabama now has four wins over ranked teams this year – Xavier, Notre Dame, South Carolina, and Texas A&M. It is the first time since the 2001-02 season Alabama has had four wins over ranked teams.


Ben Jobe, who was Avery Johnson’s college coach at Southern University, scouted the game for the New York Knicks.,


Alabama stars from the past few years, Levi Randolph and Rodney Cooper, were at Wednesday night’s game. Randolph is a member of the Boston Celtics developmental squad, the Maine Red Claws. Cooper is playing overseas.


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Although all tickets were sold in the 15,083 Coleman Coliseum, attendance was 11,086.

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