TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – The Alabama basketball season ended Wednesday night with an 80-79 overtime loss to Norfolk State in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament. The Crimson Tide finished the season at 18-16 after losing five of its last six games.
Alabama was once again haunted by its familiar flaws. The Crimson Tide returned the ball more than 16 times, giving 21 points in the other direction. Although holding a distinctive advantage over the size, Alabama was surpassed 49-45, allowing Norfolk State to cancel 21 offensive rebounds, which earned it 22 second chance points.
Herbert Jones nearly kept Alabama alive with 18 points, a top in the team, including 6 points in overtime. The sophomore scored a 3 with a remaining 6.1 to cut Norfolk's lead to 80-79. Alabama then recovered the ball while Norfolk State lost the ball on arrival. However, Riley Norris's last shot in Coleman was disappointing, putting an end to a disappointing season.
Here are three excerpts from the game:
This game perfectly describes this season with the way Alabama played throughout the match. Turnover, low energy and lack of rebound. This season was completely disappointing so it's no surprise that coach Johnson and Tide were disappointed.
It was a top-down game for both teams because there were two different innings by both teams that shaped the match in full. The attack faded early in the game, with Alabama taking a 16-8 lead in the 7th minute. Norfolk St came back with an 8-0 run to tie the match three minutes later. With 3 minutes remaining at the end, Norfolk St led 22-21 after a shutout by Steven Whitley, but Alex Reese caught fire with five shots on goal in the last four minutes to take a 35-28 lead. .
Alabama led 40-30 with 17:41 to play in the match, but Norfolk St scored 15-1 to become 45-41 Norfolk St. From that point on, neither team had a advance greater than 4. Norfolk St had 22 second chance points and 21 offensive rebounds on the eve of the last minute of the match. This is surprising given the difference in size of the two teams.
Norfolk St had a 67-64 lead with 30 seconds left until John Petty hit a 3-point clutch setback to tie at 67-67. Norfolk St had the opportunity to score 24 points with a setback at the end of regulation time to end the match, but the match started from the edge. In overtime, Norfolk St played with a lot of energy to turn the tide 3 times and score 4 points on those turnovers.
At the end of the game, this is an 80-79 win over Norfolk St. Norfolk St held out in overtime. Alabama finished with 16 turnovers and Norfolk St with 21 points. Norfolk St had 22 points on 21 offensive rebounds against a much larger team. That was the two differences in the game, and honestly, the difference in the season.