Call it what it is, bad basketball. After falling apart against Arkansas Saturday night, Alabama basketball lost a much-needed home game against Tenessee 69-68, equaling three straight losses.
In its second straight game without junior forward Herbert Jones, the Crimson Tide is starting to feel his absence. Nobody is doing the dirty work. Poor decisions are being made. And for how good Kira Lewis Jr. is, he continues to do too much.
Tennessee outrebounded Alabama 42-33, making it the eighth time in 22 games that the Crimson Tide lost the rebounding battle. Tennessee forced 12.95 turnovers per game, Alabama had 20, including 12 in the first half.
Alabama was held to the second-lowest output in a game this season since scoring 67 at Kentucky and against North Carolina.
With under two minutes remaining, Alex Reece, Galin Smith and Javian Davis all fouled out. The Crimson Tide was left playing five guards, the tallest being John Petty Jr. at 6’5. As a result, the Volunteers finished 23-of-32 from the line.
“We have three bigs that we play in the rotation and they all end up fouling out, which was big because they bodied us up inside,” head coach Nate Oats said in a press release. “John (Petty) had to play the four position pretty much the whole night because of us being in foul trouble, but he did a great job and had 11 rebounds.”
Alabama finished just 5-of-8 from the foul line.
The offense continues to be a problem. They score in runs and suffer in droughts. The Crimson Tide led the Razorbacks for more than 25 minutes before losing. They led the Volunteers for 32:27 until they didn’t. Its the third time in four games that Alabama blew a double-digit lead.
Lewis Jr. led Alabama with 19 points, shooting 8-of-15 from the field, with four assists and three rebounds. Freshman Jaden Shackelford finished with 12 points and Petty Jr., a year after scoring 30 points against the Volunteers, added just eight points and led the team with 11 rebounds and a career-high-tying seven assists.
The Crimson Tide was already in a must-win situation. They’ve lost three straight. Two winnable games. As a result, their NCAA tournament hopes are fading into darkness. Things need to change. And fast.
Alabama will start a two-game road trip with Georgia Saturday at 5 p.m. Alabama is 2-5 in the last seven meetings with the Bulldogs.