Alabama basketball dropped an 82-67 decision against the UCONN Huskies in Portland, Oregon on Friday night. The game came in the semifinal round of the Phil Knight Invitational tournament, and marked Alabama’s first loss of the season.
The Crimson Tide got out to a slow start, trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half. Bama went on a run to close the gap to five and seize momentum going into the intermission. The game was tight for much of the second half, with the Tide playing UCONN close but never taking the lead.
The score was tied at 52-52 with under nine minutes to go when Alabama started to stagnate. Simultaneously, the Huskies began to heat up, and their 21-2 spurt over the next five-and-a-half minutes effectively ended the game.
UCONN big man Adama Sanogo dominated the paint, finishing with 25 points on 9-16 shooting. The Huskies like to surround their bigs with shooters, and they shot it well in stretches against Alabama. Jordan Hawkins, Alex Karaban, and Joey Calcaterra combined to go 7-11 from the three-point line.
Alabama Basketball freshmen among top performers
For Alabama, Brandon Miller led the way once again with 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Miller did not shoot the ball exceptionally well from the field, and yet still posted impressive numbers.
Fellow freshman Jaden Bradley was the only other member of the Alabama basketball team to score in double figures. The guard had his best game of the season with 12 points and a team-high four assists. Freshman Noah Clowney contributed nine points for the Tide.
Ohio transfer Mark Sears finished with eight points and five rebounds on a poor shooting day. Jahvon Quinerly also had a rough outing. The senior guard was essentially a non-factor, shooting 1-6 from the field and having more turnovers than points (4-3). Quinerly is still knocking off rust and should bounce back strong from this performance. Wings Nimari Burnett and Rylan Griffen each contributed six points, with Griffen connecting on both of his three-point attempts.
The prize for losing in the semifinal round is a Sunday afternoon consolation showdown with the top-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. The Tar Heels are coming off an upset loss to Iowa State, but remain one of the most talented and experienced teams in college basketball.
This will be another good test for an Alabama basketball team that is set to play three top-10 teams in the next three weeks.