Leading 51-47 with 6:15 left in the game, Alabama (16-14, 6-10) went on a 12-3 run to put the game away as they defeated the Tigers, 73-61, before over 15,000 at Coleman Coliseum. Tony Mitchell is a special player. He is going to create a lot of highlight reels for the University in the next two-three years. He had two monster dunks. One of an ally-oop pass from Anthony Brock that he slammed home behind his back in the first half. It was an amazing athletic move. Then he had another breakaway dunk in the first half with a spectacular finish that Dominique Monufique would be proud of. He's something else. Mitchell finished with 16 and seven boards.
Chris Hines stepped up for the Tide sinking six-of-eight shots and finishing with 13. Mikhail Torrance ran a terrific floor game dishing out six assists, pulling down 12 rebounds and scoring 13 points. Torrance, an 80+ % free throw shooter who missed a couple of critical ones down in Auburn in 'Bama's one point loss, was seven-of-seven from the free throw line. 'Bama was only four-of-17 from trifecta (23.5%) but Charvez Davis was three-of-six. He has become a potent weapon for Alabama. If JaMychal Green can get it together, this team could be dangerous next week. Justin Knox looks like he wants to make some noise this week as does the rest of the team. Knox had six points and five boards.Green had only one point yesterday.
For the Tigers, a team that lives and dies by the three, they were seven-of-25 (28%). Tay Waller, who had been so hot, was four-of-12, but led the Tigers with 22. He's showing himself to be a real leader on this team and one of the best three-point shooters in the country. DeWayne Reed played his typical solid game with 17 points. Auburn only shot 35% from the field. Some of that had to do with 'Bama's defense. The Tigers dropped to 15-16 and 6-10.
Auburn has a tough opening matchup in the tourney on Thursday against Florida, a team desperately trying to make the NCAA's. Every victory counts for the Gators. Does for the Tigers, too. They are playing their hearts out, just coming up short. They'll play Florida at 6:30 on the SEC Network (WTTTO-Channel 21) with the winner advancing to play Miss. State at 6:30 Friday on the SEC Network.
For the Tide, they've got some momentum heading into Nashville (The Sommet Center). They will play a good South Carolina team. With Devan Downey anything is possible with this team. He beat Vandy single-handedly yesterday and averaged 26 points in SEC games this year. 'Bama will have to guard him everywhere-the perimeter, driving to the basket. SC has some other good players, but I like the way 'Bama is playing. 'Bama plays SC at noon Thursday on the SEC Network. If Torrance can run the floor, Davis can shoot like he has been, Mitchell can do his thing, Hines, Knox and hopefully Green can hit the boards and score inside, this team can do well. The winner plays Kentucky Friday at noon on SEC Network. Can't worry about that though.
In other games, LSU plays Tennessee at 2:15 on Thursday. It's amazing that Tennessee is playing the first day after blasting Miss State at Starkville. The Vols have a chance to do some damage in the big tourney. They are for real. The winner there plays Ole Miss Friday at 2:15.
Georgia and Arkansas play at 8:45 Thursday with the winner playing Vandy Friday at 8:45. The first two rounds are on the SEC Network with the semis and champ game on ABC 33-40. The semis are Saturday at noon and 2:15 and the final is Sunday at noon.
I don't think this tourney is a done deal for Kentucky. If someone shoots well against the Wildcats and the Wildcats shoot like they have been lately, they could get knocked off.