Feb. 9, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Alabama men's basketball team fell to the No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats Tuesday night at Rupp Arena, 66-55. The Crimson Tide goes to 13-11 (3-7 SEC) while the Wildcats improve to 23-1 (8-1 SEC).
"Kentucky is an extremely tough, difficult basketball team," Alabama head coach Anthony Grant said. "In the first half, it was evident in transition and in the second half in their ability to get to the free throw line. It was a little bit more than we were able to handle today."
Alabama got out to an early lead with a three pointer by freshman Tony Mitchell giving the Tide an 11-6 lead at the 15:36 media timeout. Kentucky then went on to outscore Alabama 9-1 over the next four minutes, taking the lead for good when freshman guard John Wall drained a three pointer at 11:18 to give the Wildcats a 15-12 advantage.
"I thought our guys came out and played hard and competed today," said Grant. "Unfortunately we weren't able to come out with the win."
Despite both teams hitting 11 shots from the field and two from behind the arc in the first half, Kentucky took a 31-24 lead into halftime after going 7-of-10 from the free throw line. Alabama never made it to the line in the first half.
"Being as a good a team as Kentucky is, they were able to find some gaps in our zone in the second half. They built up a comfortable lead which forced us to change defenses."
Alabama scored first to open the second half and get the Tide back to within five points, but that would be as close as UA would come for the rest of the evening.
Kentucky led by as many as 14 points but Alabama continued to fight by getting the game back to within two possessions on two different occasions, trailing by five at the 7:46 media timeout and by six with 56 seconds remaining.
Alabama finished the game 21-of-63 (33.3 percent) from the field, while Kentucky connected on 22-of-48 (45.8 percent) of its field goals. The Tide defense held Kentucky to just 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) from beyond the arc, nearly 20 percent lower than its 38.6 percent season average.
The Crimson Tide hit 9-of-10 free throws compared to Kentucky's 19-of-31 showing from the line.
Mitchell led Alabama with 13 points by going 4-of-12 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the three-point line in addition to pacing the Tide with seven rebounds. JaMychal Green added 11 points and grabbed six rebounds while Hillman added 10 points, two rebounds and an assist.
Wall led all scorers with 22 points and picked up 10 rebounds to go along with three steals. DeMarcus Cousins also notched a double-double for the Wildcats with 16 points and 13 boards.
Alabama returns to Coleman Coliseum to face Arkansas Saturday at 3 p.m.