A Reality Check: Alabama Basketball 60 Years Ago

J. Bank

Alabama basketball fans have had their share of disappointment over the years, which was in part why Wednesday night's victory over No. 4 Auburn was so special. 

In addition to handing its biggest rival the first loss of the season, the 83-64 win was the Crimson Tide's first victory over a team ranked in the Associated Press top four since defeating No. 1 Stanford in the 2004 NCAA Tournament on March 20, 2004.

That was as couple of head coaches ago. 

Nate Oats was the first Alabama coach since David Hobbs (1992-93) to win the first game he coached against Auburn.

But that's nothing in comparison to what Alabama basketball was like during the 1959-60 season. The Crimson Tide posted a 7-17 record with a 4-10 mark in the Southeastern Conference. 

Playing its games in Foster Auditorium, Alabama had a 7-2 record at home. That was the bright spot. The 17 losses was a school record for losses in a season at the time.

The program above reflects an Alabama win over Georgia.  

The Crimson Tide was led by sophomore Porter Powers, who averaged 15.8 points a game, and junior Larry Pennington, who averaged 11.6 points and 5.6 rebounds.

Coach Dr. Eugene Lambert was at Alabama for only four years and the 1950-60 team was his final season. Lambert had previously coached at Arkansas and Memphis State, and had a lot of success at both.  

At Alabama, he also coached the tennis team for one year.  

His final record at Alabama was 49-49 and he resigned to become the Director of Athletics at Memphis State.Dr. Eugene Lambert died in 2000 at the age of 95.

Incidentally, the 1959-60 team lost to Auburn three times, all at neutral sites. The difference in scoring was, in order, seven, three and two points.