No. 9 Alabama Basketball Falls at No. 24 Oklahoma, 66-61

The Crimson Tide saw its 10-game winning streak snapped on Saturday afternoon against a tough Sooners squad

For the first time in the year 2021, the University of Alabama men's basketball team lost a game.

On Saturday afternoon, the Crimson Tide saw its 10-game winning streak come to an end on the road against No. 24 Oklahoma inside Llyod Noble Center, 66-61. 

"We didn't come out ready to play," Alabama coach Nate Oats said postgame. "Not our best performance."

Before game-time, Oklahoma announced that its leading scorer Austin Reaves and Alondes Williams would miss Saturday's contest due to COVID-19 protocols. 

But that wouldn't make a difference. 

The Sooners jumped on Alabama early with an 11-2 lead and forced eight Crimson Tide turnovers within the first seven minutes of action. 

"We tried to warn our guys before the game, that when teams are down a couple guys, it has a galvanizing effect," Oats said. "I thought Oklahoma always plays hard but when they were down two guys, they really brought it."

Alabama was able to overcome that with the help of senior guard John Petty Jr., who scored eight points in less than a two-minute span to give the Crimson Tide a 23-20 advantage with just over five minutes remaining in the first period. 

However, Oklahoma scored on five of its final six possessions to take a 32-29 lead into intermission. 

Oats and company would later take another momentum hit in the second half by way of three-pointer from guard De'Vion Harmon. It extended the Sooners lead by 12 around the midway point of the second half. 

Thanks to senior forward Alex Reese and junior guard Keon Ellis, Alabama proceeded to go on a 17-4 run and took a 60-59 advantage with 3:44 remaining. 

But offensive ineptitude plagued the Crimson Tide over the final minutes, as Alabama converted on only one of its last 10 field-goal attempts, including the last eight.

Oklahoma dashed Alabama's hopes of winning at the free-throw line, where it connected on seven of its final nine attempts to secure the 66-61 victory. 

It was Alabama’s second-worst offensive outing of the season, and worst since a Dec. 12 loss to Clemson when it only netted 56 points.

Reese scored a team-high 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting and added five rebounds, two assists, one block, and one steal. Sophomore guard Jaden Shackelford poured in 14 points. 

Alabama was over-matched on the glass and lost the rebounding battle, 42-34. The Sooners had 10 second-chance points compared to the Crimson Tide's zero.

"It cost us the game" Oats said. 

Senior wing Herb Jones, who didn't practice at all after the win over Kentucky, played a team-high 37 minutes and saw his nose get bloodied for a second game in a row. 

Jones was also favoring one of his legs throughout the second half, trying to find a way to gut out a win. He record seven points, a team-high six rebounds, five assists, and three steals.

"Herb is a warrior," Oats said of his performance. "Everybody in the state of Alabama knows how tough that kid is. He's nowhere close to being 100 percent though ..."

For Oklahoma, fours players finished in double-figures, including guards De'Vion Harmon (18), Elijah Harkless (14), and Umoja Gibson (12), and forward Brady Manek (12). 

As a unit, the Sooners shot 40 percent from the field (25-of-62).

The ninth-ranked Crimson Tide, (14-4, 9-0) will resume Southeastern Conference play next Wednesday night when it takes on LSU inside Coleman Coliseum at 6 p.m (CT) on ESPN2. 

"If we can learn from this, it will end up helping us in the long run," Oats said. "We can go either of two ways, come back and play a lot better the next game or go into a tailspin. I like our leadership."

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