Texas A&M Tops Tide In Overtime

It was a recipe for disaster. Miss nine second half free throws, let an opponent stroke a game-tying three-ball with just over a second left in regulation, and don't make a basket in overtime.

That's why the Alabama men's basketball team is going to wake up on Sunday morning with a record of 5-3 instead of its first meaningful victory of the year and a 6-2 record. And why Texas A&M has improved to 7-1. The visiting Aggies outscored Alabama by 13-5 in overtime to take an 86-78 win over Bama. The Tide had a four-game winning streak going into the game.

"They made some big shots at key times in the game," Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried said. "They stepped up and made the plays.

"In the second half we went 11-20 at the foul line and that probably hurt us more than anything.

"We're going to bounce back. We put ourselves in a position to win, but we've got to finish it. We've got to close it out."

T h e C r i m s o n T i d e a p p e a r e d t o h a v e a w i n c o m i n g a f t e r r a l l y i n g i n t h e s e c o n d h a l f t o l e a d b y t h r e e p o i n t s , 73-70, b u t B . J . H o l m e s h i t a three -p o i n t e r o v e r S e n a r i o H i l l m a n w i t h 1 . 1 s e c o n d l e f t i n r e g u l a t i o n to send the game to overtime.

"We actually drew up a play," Texas A&M Coach Mark Turgeon said. "Sloan improvised and got the ball to the right guy. I think everybody on our team knew it was good when it left his hand. We just executed. There is a lot of fight in our team and there's a lot of winners in that locker room."

"They switchec on defense and (Donald) Sloan got me the ball and I made it," said Holmes. "Every time I shoot I always think it's going in."

Hillman was hoping it wasn't going in. "It just crushed me when I saw him make that three knowing I was guarding him," said Hillman, who scored 17 for Bama.

Alabama got 13 points from freshman post player JaMychal Green, who played only 19 minutes because of foul problems. "He's young and he has to learn what he can and can't do," Gottfried said.

"Down the stretch they made some big shots," said Bama senior Alonzo Gee, who was graduated from The University earlier on Saturday. In his second appearance of the day in Coleman Coliseum Gee had 19 points.

Gee and Green helped dunk Alabama to an early first half lead that the Tide couldn't hold.

Gottfried put Mikhail Torrance into the game for the first time with 14 seconds remaining in regulation and Bama up by two points. Torrance was fouled after catching the inbounds pass, but managed only one of two at the stripe, opening the door for Holmes' heroics.

"He's a great foul shooter," Gottfried said. "We chart them every day in practice. They did a great job of keeping the ball away from Ron Steele."

Senior point guard Ronald Steele scored 11 points and dished out six assists, but had a tough time getting off shots in the second half due to Sloan's smothering defense.

Texas A&M's Josh Carter nailed fve three-pointers and led all scorers with 23 points. Holmes added 16.

Alabama could not seem to stand prosperity in the first half. Though Bama led by as many as 14 points, the Aggies rallied to take a 39-36 lead at the break. Gottfried drew a technical foul that resulted in a five-point Aggies offensive possession at the 8:32 mark of the first half.

Alabama will try to bounce back when it hosts Tennessee State at 7 p.m. CST Wednesday.

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