Dec. 29, 2015
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama’s men’s basketball team won in overtime against Jacksonville State on Tuesday, 67-59. The Tide, which held a double-figure lead in the second half, used a 10-0 run in overtime to take control of the game and improve to 8-3 on the season.
Arthur Edwards led Alabama with 16 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists, while Riley Norris scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for his second career double-double. Jimmie Taylor also had a solid game, going for 13 points, six rebounds and a season-high five blocked shots.
“This was a game that I had circled on my calendar that I was really concerned about,” head coach Avery Johnson said. “Even before the season, when you go and look at all the games coming out of a Christmas break, you know guys go home for a couple of days and especially if your team is in a pretty good rhythm and even though we lost the Oregon game, we were in a pretty good rhythm going into the break. So, to take off those four or five days and come back, reconvene and get ready to play against a dangerous team like Jacksonville State – I was really concerned about this game.
“We had a chance to win it in regulation. We didn’t. We struggled in the second half in so many different ways. We struggled in the first half, but this was great practice because I think we are going to have a couple more overtime games probably this year and the way our team responded in overtime – we made our free throws. We did a good job of getting quality shots, so I told the guys I’m awfully proud of them.”
After starting the second half 6-of-10 from the field and take a 46-33 lead with 11:13 remaining in regulation, Alabama went cold, missing its final 11 attempts and allowing the Gamecocks to pull back to a 55-55 tie. The Tide had a chance to win in the final seconds, but senior guard Retin Obasohan missed both potential game-winning free throw chances with 2.3 seconds left on the clock.
After allowing an early bucket in the overtime period, Alabama scored 10 unanswered points while going a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line after making just 20-of-35 in regulation. The Gamecocks would not score again until there were 29 seconds remaining.
The first half featured seven lead changes and two ties before Jacksonville State (4-11) took a 29-27 lead to the locker room. Alabama shot 43 percent and was outrebounded 20-13, including a 10-3 disadvantage on the offensive glass. The Tide stayed in the game by forcing eight Gamecock turnovers in the first frame alone.
Alabama started the second half with a 19-4 run over the first 8:47 to take a 46-33 lead, its largest of the game, and seemed on its way to a victory. However, the Gamecocks immediately answered with a 13-3 run of their own to trim the lead to 49-46 with 2:14 left to play. Jacksonville State continued to claw its way back as JaQuail Townser hit a pair of threes in the final minute to tie the game at 55-55 with 32 seconds left.
Jared Hamilton scored 16 points, all in the first half, to lead Jacksonville State, while Townser chipped in 14. Malcolm Drumwright, who entered the game averaging a team-best 16.1 ppg, was held scoreless but did pull down six rebounds.
Next up, the Tide will wrap up non-conference play on Saturday, Jan. 2 against Norfolk State. The contest will air on SEC Network at 1 p.m. CT.
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