Men's Basketball Falls to No. 11/9 Wichita State, 72-67

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

Dec. 17, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team dropped a hard-fought contest Tuesday night in Coleman Coliseum, falling to the No. 11/9 Wichita State Shockers, 72-67.

"They are a really good basketball team and we knew that coming in," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "There's a reason why they're one of the top teams and undefeated so far. They did a great job defending. We really struggled at the free throw line and they didn't and that was a major factor, especially down the stretch."

With the loss, Alabama (5-5) falls to .500 on the season while Wichita State (11-0), the second-highest ranked non-conference opponent to play in Tuscaloosa, remains undefeated.  The loss snaps Alabama's 15-game regular season home winning streak.  Before tonight, the Tide's last regular-season loss in Coleman Coliseum was on December 30, 2012 to Tulane.

The Shockers were nearly perfect from the free-throw line, going 25-of-27 (.926) though Alabama held the edge from behind the three-point arc, shooting 7-of-20 (.350).  Senior guard Trevor Releford was the Tide's leading scorer, returning after sitting out Saturday's game with what was called an "aggravated hip" to score 22 points with a season-high six assists.  Junior guard Rodney Cooper had a second-straight game in double digits, scoring 14 as Alabama's next-highest scorer.

Early turnovers hurt the Alabama in the opening half, with Wichita State scoring seven unanswered to build a double-digit lead at 16-6 near the 13-minute mark. The Shockers kept the Tide at arm's length until Alabama found a spark late in the half, drawing within one point, 33-32, at halftime.

The game remained a back-and-forth battle in the second half, with Alabama eventually taking a 52-51 lead off back-to-back three-point baskets by Releford with eight minutes remaining.  A raucous Coleman Coliseum crowd came alive as the teams were deadlocked 58-58 at the final media timeout.  However, Wichita State was able to hold on down the stretch and pull out a five-point win.

Alabama will end its three-game homestand on Saturday night when it squares off against the Xavier Musketeers at 6 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised on CSS and can also be seen on ESPN3.com.

For all the latest information on the team, follow AlabamaMBB on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. General athletic news can be found @UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook.