Men's Basketball Loses to South Carolina, 75-73

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Sophomore Senario Hillman came off the bench to score 17 points.
Sophomore Senario Hillman came off the bench to score 17 points.

Feb. 14, 2009

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama basketball team (13-11, 3-7 SEC) fell to South Carolina (18-5, 7-3 SEC) 75-73 on a last second tip-in at Coleman Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

With the scored tied 73-73, South Carolina held for the final shot. Devan Downey missed a fade-away jumper and Dominique Archie missed the tip but Mike Holmes swooped in and tipped in the game-winner as time expired. The referees reviewed the play, and the call stood.

"You take that last play and look at it," Alabama head coach Phillip Pearson said. "The initial defense was okay, I think the problem is that we needed to track the rebound down. Downey is so good with the ball that you end up so many times in a scramble situation. You've got to be able to get back in there and get the rebound."

Alabama came out with a new-look starting lineup that featured juniors Anthony Brock and Demetrius Jemison with sophomore Senario Hillman and freshman JaMychal Green coming off the bench for the first time this season. The Crimson Tide jumped on the Gamecocks early with a 25-10 run to start the game and maintained a double-digit advantage throughout the first half, entering the locker room with a 41-31 lead.

However, South Carolina opened the second half on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 41-40, and the game stayed tight from that point on. There were five ties and five lead changes in the final 10:40 of the game.

"I told our guys that this wasn't going to be the last time we are in a situation like this," Pearson said. "We have six or seven games left in the league and then the tournament. This won't be the last time we are in the situation and we look at the clock and there is 1:41 and the score is tied. We are going to keep working to get better at it."

The new lineup gave the Tide some added punch from its reserve players. Hillman scored 17 points in his first game off the bench, and Green added nine points, eight rebounds and three blocks in 20 minutes of action. In total, Alabama outscored South Carolina 37-18 off the bench.

Senior Alonzo Gee scored in double figures for the 20th time this season and led the Tide with 18 points to go along with eight rebounds. Sophomore Mikhail Torrance scored 12 points, all in the first half, to round out the double figure scorers for Alabama.

For the game, the Tide shot 46 percent (28-61) from the floor compared to 42 percent (27-65) for South Carolina. Alabama knocked down 46 percent (5-11) from beyond the arc, while the Gamecocks made only 24 percent (5-21). South Carolina's edge came in turnovers where the Gamecocks forced 19 give-aways that led to 23 points.

Alabama shot 47 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep in the first half and hit the offensive glass on misses, coming down with nine offensive rebounds that led to 12 second-chance points. Gee threw down three dunks in the first frame and put up 13 points to lead all scorers.

South Carolina had four players score in double figures led by Downey with 18 points, five assists and six steals. Besides scoring the game-winner, Holmes posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Alabama travels to Gainesville, Fla. to battle the Florida Gators on Wednesday, February 18. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.