Alabama holds on to beat Texas A&M, 63-62, for its fourth ranked win

Alabama+holds+on+to+beat+Texas+A%26M%2C+63-62%2C+for+its+fourth+ranked+win

Tyler Waldrep

Donta Hall had to sweat out the last few moments of what ended up being the freshman’s best game this season when he was called for a foul with two seconds left, giving No. 15 Texas A&M one final chance to win the game.

All Texas A&M’s Anthony Collins had to do was make one free throw to tie the game and two to secure an Aggie victory. He went to the line having made 30-32 free throws over the course of the season, but Hall was able to celebrate, along with the Alabama fans, the victory when not one, but both of Collins’ free throws went awry.

“They got crazy at the end with those two free throws,” Hall said. “We love our fans, we love our students, that’s a big help.” 

Hall finished the game with a career-high 10 rebounds and six points in the Crimson Tide’s 63-62 victory over the Aggies (18-6, 7-4 SEC). This was the first time Alabama (14-9, 5-6) has won four ranked games in the regular season since 2001-2002 and the team has done so in only six attempts this season. The last ranked win prior to this season came in January of 2011. 

“First of all, I had no idea it had been 14 years,” senior Retin Obasohan said. “That’s quite a bit, but it’s huge for this program, this team. You know, it just shows to everybody that we’re headed in the right direction.”

Obasohan led the team with 16 points and recorded five assists in the victory. At times, the Aggies seemed unable to stop Obasohan from driving towards the basket without fouling him, but Alabama didn’t have the best of luck containing Texas A&M’s Jalen Jones either. 

Jones finished with a game-high 21 points, along with seven rebounds. While coach Avery Johnson would’ve preferred to see a better defensive effort when Jones was concerned, the defense did a good job of containing the Aggies No. 1 scorer Danuel House who finished the game 12 points (all in the second half) and a team-high eight rebounds.

“From a strategy standpoint the major, major concern was House,” Johnson said. “We felt we could live with some other situations, but we knew Danuel House and Jalen Jones were problems whenever they touched the ball.”

Johnson could trace the team’s success back to adjustments he made in December when the coaching staff identified offensive rebounds as an area the team needed to improve on going forward. 

“Tonight we get 14 offensive rebounds,” Johnson said. “When we started tracking this, we got a win at Southern Miss where we got one. So we’ve moved from 336th or whatever to almost 200 now.” 

Alabama’s 14-8 edge on the offensive glass helped the team outrebound the Aggies, 36-29, during Wednesday’s game. Alabama is currently 8-1 when the team grabs more rebounds than its opponent. 

In the victory, two of Obasohan’s teammates also finished with double-digit point totals. Sophomore Riley Norris scored 11 points after shooting 3-6 past the arc, while Shannon Hale added 10 points in his first game back after missing the Crimson Tide’s last two outings. 

“Shannon Hale’s 10 points was great,” Johnson said. “Man, [he was] huge, he was a game-time decision. Big shout out to Clarke Holter, our trainer, because he allowed me to take him three minutes over his minute restriction.” 

Wednesday’s victory also gave the Crimson Tide three consecutive SEC victories for the first time since the 2012-2013 season. Alabama will need similar victories down the stretch if the team wants to make noise in the postseason, but for now, the Crimson Tide is trending in the right direction.

“If you’d told me in June, I’m back to this again, that we’d beat Texas A&M tonight I would run to Birmingham with my barefeet,” Johnson said.