By: Tyler Roberts
UA Media Relations
TUSCALOOSA- In another wild night at Coleman Coliseum, the University of Alabama basketball team needed two three-pointers in the final twenty seconds of regulation to prolong the game before pulling out a 63-61 victory in overtime over Southeastern Louisiana.
With Alabama trailing 54-48, Mykal Riley drilled a three-pointer from the corner with 18 seconds left just as the officials blew the whistle for an off-the-ball foul against the Lions. The basket counted and the Tide got the ball back. Seven seconds later, Justin Tubbs nailed his second three of the game to tie the score at 54-54. A last second effort by Dekyron Nicks glanced off the back iron sending the game into overtime.
Riley took over in OT, scoring all nine of the Tide’s points on three shots from beyond the arc, including one with seven seconds remaining to put Alabama up by five and end the Lions upset bid. Riley finished with a season-high 23 points to lead all scorers.
“I’ve been waiting a long time for this, since the beginning of the season,” Riley said. “It seemed like I could never catch fire. I’ve been shooting badly lately, but I’m glad I was able to pull it off in overtime. It helps my confidence a lot to know that I can shoot the ball still.”
Richard Hendrix saw his string of five straight double-doubles to start the season come to end, but he still contributed 17 points, seven rebounds and a season-high four blocks despite battling some foul trouble down the stretch.
Alabama struggled shooting the ball throughout, finishing at 34 percent from the field for the game. However, the Tide stayed in it by forcing 18 turnovers, which led to 15 points and protecting the ball on offense, only turning the ball over six times.
“The lesson learned with this team is no matter how and what you are playing, you have to play it out,” head coach Mark Gottfried said. “That’s why we practice hard and do a lot of running so we will have enough energy to make it to the end. I am very proud of the fact that we never gave up. We are very fortunate to win; we know that.”
Southeastern took a 25-23 lead into the half and led for almost the entire second half before Bama’s two clutch three’s in the waning seconds tied the ballgame.
Senior forward Kevyn Green led the way for SLU, scoring 22 points and grabbing six rebounds. Dekyron Nicks and Warrell Span also finished in double-figures, scoring 14 and 10 points respectively.
The win takes the Tide’s record to 4-2, while Southeastern Louisiana slides to 5-2 on the season. Alabama’s next test will be a big one, as they face the fifth-ranked Georgetown Hoyas at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, Wednesday, December 5 as part of the SEC-Big East Invitational. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT, and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN. Auburn plays West Virginia in the second game of the doubleheader.