Seniors lead Alabama to victory over rival Auburn

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Tyler Waldrep

With less than three minutes remaining, Alabama was clinging to a one point lead over the Auburn Tigers. A loss would’ve put Alabama’s NCAA Tournament chances on life support.

Coach Avery Johnson looked at senior Retin Obasohan and told him to take over.

“At the end of the game I was telling him keep the ball in your hands and make something happen,” Johnson said. “Make two or three guys double-team you.”

Obasohan had only scored nine points when he threw up a 3-pointer to give his team some breathing room. He followed that up with four more points to finish with a game-high 16 points in Alabama’s 65-57 victory over Auburn.

The Crimson Tide (17-11, 8-8 SEC) played most of the first half without Obasohan after Johnson decided to sit the senior for the half after he picked up a second foul early.

Johnson said that decision did not come without risks, but Alabama retained the lead 31-29 when the team went into the locker room and Johnson said the extended breather kept Obasohan rested for the second period.

“I thought he had more energy in the second half during certain stretches than anyone on the floor,” Johnson said.

More energy or not Obasohan took a while to get going, but two of his teammates, Arthur Edwards and Donta Hall helped keep the game within reach. Both players also finished in double figures, scoring 15 and a career-high 10 points respectively.

It was Edwards’ steal and subsequent dunk on a fast break that tied the game to give Alabama a share of the lead for the first time in almost 12 minutes.

“He was just a disobedient child because I’ve often talked to him about- Stop gambling Arthur. You know, stop reaching Arthur, but I’m glad he did it,” Johnson said. We would not be the team that we are this year had Arthur Edwards not decided to come and play here this year.”

Edwards hasn’t spent years involved with the rivalry like Obasohan, but both players will be able to leave the rivalry with a good taste in their mouths barring a meeting with Auburn in the SEC Tournament.

Their production also helped Johnson avoid an Auburn sweep of the series for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

Johnson said he felt differently about the rivalry this time around. Leaving Auburn Arena with a loss back in January helped him understand the intense passion the rivalry can evoke.

“Hopefully my wife will be a little happier with me this time around, because she obviously said I wasn’t a very good coach in the first game [with Auburn],” Johnson said. “From what I’ve seen it’s every sport. It’s a rivalry. Now I’m admitting it to you guys I’m not denying it anymore.”