Obasohan leads Alabama's 65-57 comeback win over Auburn
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Retin Obasohan's teammates carried Alabama into the final minutes, and the Crimson Tide star finished the job.
Obasohan scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, including seven in the final 2:17, and polished off Alabama's comeback in a 65-57 victory over rival Auburn on Saturday.
The Tide (17-11, 8-8 Southeastern Conference) rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to snap a two-game losing streak. Obasohan hit a 3-pointer, a mid-range jumper and two free throws down the stretch and even blocked a shot from 6-foot-7 Cinmeon Bowers.
''Retin's our leader, no doubt about it,'' said Michael Kessens, who had back to back dunks during the comeback. ''Sometimes we try to let him do too much, I think. Tonight we did a good job of hanging in there as a team and then at the end when it got close, Retin just took over.''
The Tigers (11-17, 5-11) had staged their own rally after trailing by 10 points but couldn't pull off the regular-season sweep.
Arthur Edwards and Donta Hall turned in big games for Alabama when Obasohan wasn't carrying the load. Obasohan was on the bench with two fouls for the last 8-plus minutes of the first half, something of a gamble by coach Avery Johnson.
The unplanned break paid off in the second half with renewed energy from Obasohan.
''At the end of the game, I was just telling him he needs to get going: `Keep the ball in your hands and make something happen,''' Johnson said.
Edwards had 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Hall had a career-high 10 points and eight rebounds before fouling out.
Bowers led Auburn with 12 points and 13 rebounds while Bryce Brown scored 14 on 4-of-6 3-pointers. The Tigers went ahead 10 points five minutes into the second half after trailing by the same deficit before the half.
Freshman Horace Spencer had a career-high 10 points.
Tyler Harris came back after missing a game with a concussion and had 12 rebounds and seven points.
''I don't know how well both teams played but it was certainly a competitive game,'' Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. ''I told our team that to go on the road against a potential NCAA Tournament team and be where we wanted to be is positive. But too many turnovers, too many missed free throws and didn't make enough plays down the stretch, and Alabama did.''
Obasohan answered a 3-pointer from Brown after Auburn's Jordon Granger missed two free throws, giving the Tide a 57-53 lead. Then Obasohan stole the ball and dished to Shannon Hale, who hit two free throws with 1:56 remaining.
Bowers had a chance for a three-point play at the other end but missed a free throw. Obasohan pulled up for a jumper from near the free throw line.
Then the 6-foot-2 point guard blocked Bowers' shot and came away with the ball. He and Edwards both made two free throws over the final 13 seconds after both teams struggled badly from the line.
FREE THROW WOES
Alabama made just 17 of 29 free throws despite the strong finish. Auburn was even worse, making 12 of 27. Obasohan was 5 of 9 and Auburn's Harris made half of his 10 attempts.
The two teams' normally low scoring big men had strong first halfs en route to career highs, with some powerful dunks. Hall's four first-half dunks topped his previous career scoring high of seven points. Spencer had back-to-back dunks during Auburn's strong closing spurt in the half.
Both had four fouls by the midpoint of the second half and both fouled out.
Auburn: Has won two of its last 11 games, with upsets of Georgia and Arkansas over the past 10 days.
Alabama: Shot 38.9 percent. Forced 18 turnovers and committed 13.
Auburn hosts Texas A&M Tuesday night.
Alabama hosts Arkansas Wednesday night.