The Cardinals held the lead for 15 seconds.
A jumper by redshirt junior Tahjai Teague gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead 36 seconds into the game.
14 seconds later Herbert Jones would tie the game for the Crimson Tide and would hold the lead for the rest of the game as Alabama (3-1, 0-0 SEC) would roll Ball State Men’s Basketball (1-3, 0-0 MAC), 79-61, in the second game of the Charleston Classic.
“We struggled way too much to score to start, we unravel offensively and we tried to do way too much individually,” head coach James Whitford said. “They’re way too good. They’re too big, too strong and excel on defense. They’ve struggled to score, but they didn’t struggle to score today. We played into their hands.”
The game was dictated by the Tide early as they would go on a 19-6 scoring run to open up the game. Free throws looked to be the only thing keep the Cardinals in the game as they would hit 78 percent of free throws. Outside of that, the Cardinals went 0-7 outside of the paint and 7-25 inside the paint while the Tide hit 3-10 three pointers and put down 20 points in the paint to take a 34-21 lead into the locker room.
The second half opened up with both teams scoring at an equal pace with both teams scoring eight points in the first five minutes of the half. The Cardinals would hit 3-5 three pointers and 22 points from inside the paint. However, the early lead built by the Tide allowed them to continuously hold a comfortable lead till the end of the game.
“As a team, we’ve taken a step forward at moments there and then,” Whitford said. “Last year at Oregon and Oklahoma we did the same thing and from that point on we got a little bit better. Today, was a step backwards in the way of being too individual. We have to learn from it and we have older guys that have to know better.”
Redshirt junior guard KJ Walton lead the Cardinals with 13 points while redshirt senior Tayler Persons and junior forward Kyle Mallers followed with 10 points. Persons dropped 11 points from his finish on Thursday against Virginia Tech. Redshirt senior center Trey Moses also broke double figures with 11 points.
With the loss, the Cardinals will play their final match of the tournament against the winner of the Appalachian State/Wichita State game. The Mountaineers fell to No. 23 Purdue, 92-70, while the Shockers lost a close game to Davidson, 57-53.
“If our attitudes are right and we look in the mirror, don’t blame other people and ask yourself the right question, then were going to grow from this and get better,” Whitford said. “We’re going to have another good game on Sunday and this tournament is the highest rated field in all of Feast Week. We’re going to have a third really good game and you can play really good basketball and up 0-3. Hopefully, that’s not going to be us.”
The Cardinals will face either Appalachian State or Wichita State on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on ESPNU.
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