Men's Basketball Falls to No. 5 Purdue, 73-65

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Senior Mikhail Torrance led the Crimson Tide with 18 points.
Senior Mikhail Torrance led the Crimson Tide with 18 points.

Dec. 12, 2009

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team had No. 5 Purdue on the ropes for much of Saturday night's tilt at Coleman Coliseum, but were unable to deliver the knockout punch, falling 73-65 before an electric crowd of 12,477.

Senior Mikhail Torrance led the Crimson Tide with 18 points while sophomore JaMychal Green added 16 points and eight rebounds. Senior Justin Knox added a career-best tying 14 points.

The Crimson Tide drops to 6-3 on the season while Purdue remains perfect at 9-0.

"Purdue made runs and we weren't able to answer those runs at either end of the floor," Crimson Tide head coach Anthony Grant said. "They were able to get second shots and get easy put-backs, and then on the other end of the floor, we didn't do a very good job of executing, remaining patient and taking good shots like we had earlier. And give them credit, their defense turned up and we didn't respond the way we needed to."

The Boilermakers came in outscoring opponents by nearly 20 points per game, but had its hands full with the Crimson Tide from the outset.

Alabama, which led 37-28 at halftime, jumped on Purdue early in the second half to take a 48-32 lead at the 16:36 mark. The Crimson Tide's opportunistic defense, which forced 17 turnovers on the night, led the way during the run.

Alabama still led by double digits at 55-45 with 11:03 remaining before the Boilermakers started chipping away at the lead. Purdue cut the lead to five courtesy of two Chris Kramer free throws after the Tide's Senario Hillman fouled out with 7:49 to play.

From there the two teams remained steadfast until the 6:01 mark, when the Boilermakers went on a 14-1 run to close out the game.

"You got to give Purdue credit," Grant said. "Their identity has been on the defensive end all year and I thought we were able to see some success early where we built the lead, but, like great teams do, they dug in, they handled the diversity and their defense really won the game for them."

Kramer scored 10 of his 14 points for the Boilermakers over the final 8:45. On the defensive side of the ball he was able to hold Torrance, Alabama's leading scorer, without any points over the final 11:03.

Robbie Hummel scored a game high 23 points to go along with nine rebounds while E'Twaun Moore added 15 for Purdue.

"There's a reason why he (Kramer) is the defending defensive player of the year in the Big 10," Grant said. "Our guys, we have to learn that no matter what it's going to be a 40-minute game, we have to play for 40 minutes. I thought there were times tonight when the intensity level went up and we didn't respond in the way that we needed to. Hopefully this is a lesson that we'll learn, it's a tough lesson, but you could see the youth and the almost lack of experience in these type of situations really take over at the end of the game."

Purdue jumped out to a 9-1 lead less than four minutes into the game and held an 11-3 advantage before the Crimson Tide started chipping away.

Alabama scored six straight to pull within two at 11-9. After a layup by Purdue's D.J. Byrd made it 13-9, the Crimson Tide reeled off 15 straight points, holding the Boilermakers without a FG for 7:01 of the half. Knox and Torrance combined to score 10 of the Tide's 15 points while Green and Hillman added the other five. Alabama outscored Purdue 23-4 from the 16:12 mark all the way to the 6:03 mark of the first half.

The Crimson Tide returns to action on Dec. 16 as it welcomes Samford to Coleman Coliseum. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CST).