Alabama Finds Way to Earn Tough Win While Shooting Terribly
Championship teams generally have a common theme: resilience. Championship teams are able to figure out a way to win even when things are not going their way and shots are not falling. Such was the case for the Alabama Crimson Tide at Coleman Coliseum on Saturday, who trailed Arkansas by nine at halftime due in large part to the fact that they could not hit a three-pointer if their lives depended on it.
The Tide, who finished the night 3-22 from deep for a whopping 13.6%, were shooting in the single digits percentage wise well into the second half and went a ridiculously long stretch without hitting a three. A phrase thrown around by fans of this team since Nate Oats has taken over has been “live by the three, die by the three.” And while it wasn’t always fair or accurate, there were certainly some games you can point to where this was the case.
But something about this team just feels different. Even when nothing was going their way shooting wise and they were trailing nearly by double digits, the Crimson Tide simply willed their way to a victory on Saturday afternoon. Key stops were made on the defensive end and Alabama started bullying the Hogs on the inside after a first half where it felt like every offensive possession was a slog for the Tide.
Arkansas is a talented team who has not played up to what they were supposed to be, but they were every bit capable of coming into Tuscaloosa and winning on Saturday. The first half showed exactly that. But by beating the Hogs at their own game, out-rebounding and overall just out-efforting Eric Musselman’s squad in the second half, Alabama was able to pull away and eventually hold on for a huge win.
On top of all this, Mississippi State presented the Tide with a late Christmas gift by taking down Texas A&M in Starkville. Now, Alabama will have the chance to win their second SEC regular season title in three years with a win over Auburn on Wednesday and get to cut down the nets in front of the crowd at Coleman. This team has everything still ahead of them, and Saturday was a perfect example of just why that is.