Alabama entered the final four game stretch of regular season play as a team in the conversation for perhaps making the NCAA Tournament, a team with a chance to finish in the top four in the Southeastern Conference and earn the double bye in the SEC Tournament.
But those final four games were fairly described as all winnable, but also all loseable.
Two games in with two close losses, odds now favor to be all loseable.
In a script that has become all-too-familiar, at College Station Saturday night Alabama couldn’t get to 20 points by halftime, fell far behind Texas A&M, made a desperation run, but came up short. The Aggies took a 56-53 win over Bama. The Tide’s final shot at a possible tie to send the game to overtime was blocked.
Alabama fell to 16-12 overall and 9-7 in SEC games. The Aggies improved to 15-13 overall and 7-9 in the conference.
Alabama returns to Tuscaloosa for its final regular season home game on Wednesday. The Crimson Tide will host Ole Miss at 7:30 p.m. CST.
Ar’Mond Davis continues to show that he deserves playing time for the Tide. On a team that is unable to generate much offense, Davis has become a three-point threat. He had a couple of three-pointers from behind the arc against Texas A&M, but it was his baseline drive and reverse layup on which he was fouled that gave Bama its final chance. He made the free throw to pull Alabama to within two points (53-55) with 22 ½ seconds to play.
Alabama had to foul and the Aggies made only one free throw, leaving Alabama with a chance.
The Tide ended up having to take the ball out from under its goal with 1.3 seconds left. Alabama got it into Braxton Key, but his three-point shot to tie was blocked.
Bama trailed by 21-19 at halftime and eight minutes into the second half had seen the deficit grow to 13 points, the Tide trailing 27-40.
A big part of Alabama’s downfall was fouls. Starters Dazon Ingram and Riley Norris both fouled out of the game and the Aggies scored 26 of its 56 points from the free throw line.
A&M was 26-37 on free throws, Alabama 7-9.
Alabama (16-12, 9-7) was led by Davis who scored 11 points – all coming in the second half – while Norris added 10. Senior Jimmie Taylor collected six points and led the Tide with seven rebounds and three blocks.
Texas A&M freshman Robert Williams had game highs of 17 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore Tyler Davis added 13 points, nine coming from the foul line.
For the third time in the last four games, Alabama’s scholarshipped basketball players failed to score 20 points in the first half. Texas A&M, which had trailed by 8 points midway through the first half, rallied to take a 21-19 lead at intermission.
Norris made the Tide’s first five points, then didn’t make another in the opening period.
Meanwhile, the Aggies took only minimum advantage of numerous free throw opportunities, making 7-12. The Tide was 2-3, the one miss the front end of a one-and-one in which A&M was guilty of a lane violation. But with a second chance at the one-and-one in the final minute, it was another miss.