Alabama Barely Escapes, Auburn’s Home Winning Streak Ends
It was quite an evening of hoops in the SEC on Wednesday night with four games, two of them non-surprises and two eye-openers. In the non-shocking category fell Tennessee destroying Georgia at home as well as Florida beating up on South Carolina in Gainesville. As for the surprises of the night, Auburn was destroyed at home by Texas A&M (now 6-1 in the SEC) 79-63 to end the nation’s longest active home winning streak of 28 games. The other big surprise of the night was how well Mississippi State played in Tuscaloosa, nearly coming away with a win at Coleman Coliseum.
Auburn had no answer whatsoever for the backcourt of the Aggies, with Tyrece Radford scoring 30 and Wade Taylor IV scoring 15. Johni Broome had 16 points and 7 rebounds for the Tigers and Wendell Green added 16 himself, but it was not enough to overcome an A&M team that led by 15 at halftime and never looked back. Buzz Williams has his Aggies as one of the surprise teams of the conference after a fairly poor non-conference start, now sitting at 14-6 overall and third place in the SEC behind only Alabama and Tennessee.
In Tuscaloosa, it looked for a while like No. 2 Alabama was on upset alert from Mississippi State, who they beat by 11 in Starkville in the first conference matchup of the year. The second time around proved much more difficult, with the Tide trailing for much of the night and simply looked lost on both ends of the floor at times. Ultimately, Alabama was able to get it done, thanks in large part to Jahvon Quinerly’s best game of the year, finishing with 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Perhaps a wakeup call like that was needed for Nate Oats’ bunch. When you rise to the level ranking wise that Alabama has, you are going to get every team’s best shot and can be beat on any given night if you don’t play well. Shots were not falling for the Tide and the offense looked extremely stale at times, but ultimately they were able to lean on their defense and do enough to get the win.
This weekend will be the Big 12/SEC Challenge, and both the Tide and Tigers will be hitting the road. Alabama will take on 11-9 (2-6 in conference) Oklahoma in Norman and Auburn will head to Morgantown to take on the 12-8 (2-6 in conference) West Virginia Mountaineers. While both teams are near the bottom of the conference, the Big 12 is the best conference in college basketball and both environments will be rocking. If they each play the way they did last night, the Tide and Tigers could both be beat on Saturday.