February 25, 2008

Report card: Auburn 88, Alabama 76

Perimeter Offense
Mykal Riley was the only Alabama player who had his outside shot working Sunday (4 of 8 from 3-point range). The rest of the team was 4 of 20 from long distance, and all 20 of those shots came from the guards. Considering the hostile environment, UA's 13 turnovers wasn't such a bad number. But there was little penetration and a not enough entry passes into the post.

Interior Offense
Richard Hendrix pretty much worked alone inside as Justin Knox and Demetrius Jemison combined for just nine minutes. Big No. 35 contributed his usual workman-like numbers (16 points, seven rebounds), but his involvement in the offense was sporadic at best. Like South Carolina before it, Auburn chose to front Hendrix defensively, daring UA's guards to feed the post with the lob, and it was highly effective. Alonzo Gee had seven offensive rebounds.

Perimeter Defense
The open looks Auburn found on the perimeter were inexcusably easy. Auburn connected on 12 of 28 3-pointers and probably should have shot even better given Alabama's obvious defensive breakdowns. Crimson Tide guards managed only two steals as AU played the last 27:31 with only two turnovers. An area where UA had shown some improvement of late to a major step backward.

Interior Defense
This wasn't especially strong either, although it should be noted that Auburn big man Quan Prowell scored 12 of his 22 from 3-point range. Still, Auburn got too many poorly-contested shots near the basket and the help defense was no help at all. Auburn's Lucas Hargrove had a stellar performance, and it wasn't all from 3-pointers, either. He and Prowell fared far better at home than they did at Coleman Coliseum.

Bench Play
The only thing that can be said positively for Alabama's bench play was that Rico Pickett got on the right side of the assist-to-turnover ratio (5-2). He shot just 1 for 5, however, and no other reserve played more than seven minutes. Justin Tubbs hit a 3-pointer, but also managed to commit three fouls in six minutes.

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