No Contest As Tide Falls At Auburn

Auburn had its way with Mark Gottfried's Alabama basketball team Saturday at Auburn. The Crimson Tide, which hasn't won a Southeastern Conference road game in almost two years, was embarrassed, 85-71, and the final margin was about as close as it got after the first few minutes of the second half.

Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried said it was a game in which it seemed nothing went right for the Crimson Tide and nothing went wrong for Auburn. The Tigers had a much better shooting game than has been the case for Auburn this year. Meanwhile, Alabama had a terrible shooting game from three-point range, did not handle the ball well, did not rebound well, and was well below average on defense.

Alabama has now lost 14 consecutive road games in SEC play and 18 of its last 19 SEC road games. Bama has lost four of its last five games against Auburn.

Both Alabama and Auburn are now 11-6 overall and 1-2 in Southeastern Conference play.

Alabama returns to Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa Wednesday for an SEC game against Ole Miss. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. CST.

Auburn has not been a good shooting team, but the Tigers hit 49 per cent from the field and hit 10-20 on three-point shots. It was the second consecutive game for Alabama to give up double digit treys and the second consecutive game to give up 85 points in a loss. Auburn had been a poor free throw shooting team, but made 15-21 against Alabama. Bama had been allowing only 39 per cent field goal shooting and only 29 per cent on three-pointers.

Bama had 20 turnovers that led to 34 Auburn points. Auburn had a slight lead in rebounding 31-29, as Bama had only seven offensive boards.

Auburn's play in the first five minutes of each half was instrumental in the Tigers' rout. Alabama's only lead of the game was at 2-0. By the time the game was five minutes old, Auburn had a 17-point lead at 23-6. The Tide cut that to only a seven-point deficit at halftime, 42-35, and Andrew Steele got the first points of the second half to pull Alabama to within five points. But five minutes into the second half, the Tide was down by 19 as Auburn took advantage of Alabama turnovers and lax defensive play for easy baskets.

The one bright spot for Alabama was guard Mikhail Torrance. With Ron Steele sidelined by injury, Alabama has been starting Brandon Hollinger. But it has been Torrance, coming off the bench, who has provided some offense for the Crimson Tide. For the second consecutive game Torrance has had career high scoring games, 20 points in a road loss at Mississippi State Wednesday and 24 points in the loss to Auburn.

Torrance had seen almost no playing time in the games prior to Steele suffering a heel injury. Torrance was good on 7-12 from the field and 9-10 free throws and had three assists for Bama. He did suffer six turnovers.

Two men who have been mainstays of the Alabama offense had terrible games at Auburn. Although Alonzo Gee ran his streak of double figures scoring games to 15 with 10 points, Gee was not a positive for the Crimson Tide. He hit only 2-12 from the field. Senario Hillman had an even worse day, scoring only six points and having more turnovers than points.

JaMychal Green, though plagued by fouls, and Justin Knox had 10 points each for the Tide.

Auburn was led by Tay Waller with 22 points, DeWayne Reed with 19, and Korvotney Barber with 18.

Gottfried said, "You have to give them credit."

The Tide coach also said that Alabama's defense had not been as good as it has been and that the Tide had too many turnovers. "We seemed to be out of sync at times," he said.

Gottfried also pointed out that "It's just one game."

An unusual feature of the game was Auburn having a seven-point trip early in the first half. On a Tigers' layup, Alabama was called for an intentional foul, giving Auburn two free throws and the ball. The Tigers made the two free throws and then hit a three-point shot for a seven-point possession. That seven points turned out to be the margin of Auburn's first half lead.

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