Dec. 21, 2015
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Alabama men’s basketball team lost Monday night against Oregon in front of 14,508 fans at Birmingham’s Legacy Arena in the Vulcan Classic, 72-68. Sophomore Justin Coleman set a career high with 24 points, but the Tide let a 12-point halftime lead slip away in the second half.
Alabama (7-3) had a chance to win in the final seconds. Down 68-65, sophomore Riley Norris attempted a three-point shot with 19 seconds left that fell short. The Tide immediately fouled the Ducks and sent them to the line, where Tyler Dorsey made both shots to push the score to 70-65. Arthur Edwards sank a three-point shot with six seconds left to pull within two, but the Tide was forced to foul, sending Dorsey back to the line where he again made both free throws to give Oregon the four-point victory.
“We just couldn’t pull it off, but I am so proud of our boys tonight,” head coach Avery Johnson said. “They played like men. I’m just so proud of them. I told them in the locker room, I can’t wait to get back from the break and get back to work. They laid it all out on the floor tonight, but we came up short.”
The Tide started hot, shooting 63 percent from beyond the arc in the first half. Coleman scored 12 unanswered points by himself to give Alabama a 17-8 lead with 11:14 left in the first half. Oregon responded with a 6-0 run of their own over two minutes to trim their deficit to 17-14. With 10:28 left before the break, Alabama used a 15-6 run to take a 32-20 lead, it’s largest of the game. The Tide would take a 38-26 lead into the locker room.
Oregon (10-2) came out of the break strong, using a 21-6 run to take a 47-44 lead with 13:53 to play. The teams stayed close for the rest of the game, with neither team taking more than a six-point lead. Coleman tied the game at 60 with back-to-back three-pointers with 5:42 left in the game. Norris would later tie it 65-65 with 2:22 to play but the Tide never regained the lead.
The Ducks forced 14 turnovers for 22 points and stole the ball nine times. Alabama lost the rebounding battle 35-30.
Coleman led the Tide in scoring while making a career-high seven field goals and matching his high with six free throws. Norris and Edwards each finished with 12 points. Jimmie Taylor and Norris led the team with five rebounds each.
Dillon Brooks led Oregon with 23 points, and Jordan Bell added five. Elgin Cook finished with nine rebounds.
Alabama will take a week off for the holidays before returning to Coleman Coliseum on Tuesday, Dec. 29. The Tide will match up with Jacksonville State at 7 p.m. CT with the contest airing on SEC Network+.
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