Alabama Cliches Double-Bye with Wild OT Win vs. Arkansas

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 06: An Alabama Crimson Tide A on a playerÕs uniform shorts during a game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and Alabama Crimson Tide, January 6, 2024 at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire)

(Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire)

The Alabama Crimson Tide closed out the regular season on a high note with a thrilling 92-88 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks to clinch a double-bye in the SEC Tournament.

As has been the case countless times this season, it was not a good start for the Tide, falling behind by 15 points with around six minutes left in the first half.

Alabama was able to cut the deficit to six points by halftime however via 13 first half points from Mark Sears along with knocking down three of Alabama’s four first half three pointers.

After the first frame, Alabama was shooting just 36 percent from the field compared to Arkansas shooting nearly 52 percent.

The threes were not falling any better for much of the second half, with Alabama trailing 60-56 at the under 8 timeout and starting the second half 1 of 9 from three.

Alabama tied the game at 74 with 22 seconds remaining in regulation due to a three-pointer from the team’s X-factor, Latrell Wrightsell, who returned to the lineup last week after missing four straight games with a concussion:

In overtime, the Tide offense was absolutely on fire, scoring on every possession and totaling 18 points in the final five to outlast Arkansas.

Sam Walters knocked down a huge three to take the lead with 3 minutes left, but it was Nick Pringle’s alley-oop from Wrightsell which put Alabama up by four with just one minute left:

In fitting fashion, it was Alabama’s plethora of seniors that got it done on Senior Day. Mark Sears scored 22 points while Wrightsell tallied 20 and Aaron Estrada had 10 points with 7 assists.

Grant Nelson and Nick Pringle each had double-doubles (14 points and 13 rebounds for Nelson, 10 points and 10 points for Pringle) for the first time this season that Alabama has had two players to accomplish the feat in the same game.

After the game, Nate Oats praised the impact that Latrell Wrightsell has, saying that Alabama would have won a league championship if not for his absence.

“We needed him in a bad way. I feel like if we’d have had him in all those games he was out, we definitely wouldn’t have lost some of the ones we did. We’d have a league championship if he hadn’t gone down,” Oats said.

“He played almost 40 minutes, and he made some tough plays. You can tell he’s probably not quite in good enough shape to play 40 minutes…Him scoring 20, we needed every one of those points tonight.”

Alabama finishes the regular season at 13-5 in the SEC and 21-10 overall and will not have to play its first game in the SEC Tournament until Friday.