Despite career game from Coleman, Tide basketball team nipped by Oregon in Birmingham (FREE)

By Stan J. Griffin: December 21, 2015

As the University of Alabama basketball team was able to maintain a double-digit advantage for a good portion of the first half against Oregon Monday night, it appeared that Avery Johnson's Crimson Tide team had a great shot of extending its win streak to six games, while gaining another impressive victory for the non-conference resume.
The  Ducks had other ideas, and a strong second-half surge by Dana Altman's team was able to overcome a career game by Tide sophomore guard and Birmingham native Justin Coleman as Oregon nipped Alabama 72-68 in an entertaining affair at Birmingham's Legacy Arena.
The Tide fell to 7-3 on the season while Oregon improved to 10-2.
The early portion of The Vulcan Classic was dictated by runs from both teams.
With Alabama up 5-2, the Ducks used a 6-0 run to go up by three points at 8-5, but Coleman had a personal 9-0 run for the Tide as Alabama moved back on top 14-8 at the 12:08 mark of the first half. The overall Tide run grew to 12-0 and put UA up 17-8.
With the lead at 17-14 after Oregon scored six in a row, Alabama tallied five-straight points as the Crimson Tide built its advantage to 22-14 at the 8:05 mark.
Riley Norris hit a trey with just under seven minutes remaining to boost the lead to double-digits at 28-18. and a Brandon Austin dunk built the Alabama lead to 32-20 at the 5:32 mark.
Oregon cut the lead to nine points on one occasion after this, but at the half, Alabama maintained a 38-26 advantage, thanks in large part to the 12 points of Coleman.
With the Tide up 40-28 in the second half, the wheels began to wobble a bit for the Crimson Tide and the Ducks began to heat up offensively while also turning it up a notch on the defensive end.

Oregon went on an 8-2 run to cut the Tide lead to 42-36, and then later scored nine points in a row as part of a bigger 19-4 spurt which saw Altman's team move in front 47-44 at the 14:02 mark of the second half.
The Tide trimmed the lead to 47-46, but Oregon scored the next five to boost the lead back up to 52-46.
During the next five minutes or so, the Ducks were able to maintain a lead of around six while the Crimson Tide was mainly cold from the floor.
But with Oregon holding the 60-54 advantage, Coleman, who had a game-high and career-high 24 points, hit consecutive 3-pointers to tie the game at 60-60 with just under six minutes left.
Oregon scored the next five to grab a 65-60 lead, but five-straight points by Norris tied the game once again at 65-65 at the 2:23 mark.
The Ducks answered right back with a trey by Elgin Cook to go up 68-65 and then the visitors hit a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left to make the score 70-65 after Norris missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the contest at 68-68.
With only eight seconds left, Arthur Edwards hit a deep trey for Alabama to cut the lead to 70-68, but with six seconds remaining, Oregon was able to ice its second-half comeback victory (where it outscored the Tide 46-30 after the intermission) with a pair of clutch foul shots.
"We just couldn’t pull it off, but I am so proud of our boys tonight,”  Johnson said. “They played like men. I’m just so proud of them. I told them in the locker room, I can’t wait to get back from the break and get back to work. They laid it all out on the floor tonight, but we came up short."
Edwards and Norris added 12 points each for the Crimson Tide, while Jimmie Taylor had 7.
Taylor and Norris led the Tide with 5 boards each while Coleman had a game-high 6 assists.
Alabama shot 47 percent from the field for the game, but shot only 13-20 from the free throw line and committed 14 turnovers.
Senior guard Retin Obasohan had a tough night in the Tide loss, hitting only 1 of his 9 shots from the field and scoring 5 points.
Dillon Brooks led Oregon with 23 points.
Alabama will take a break for the holidays and return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 29 when it hosts the Jacksonville State Gamecocks at Coleman Coliseum. The game is slated to begin at 7 p.m. CT.

Special thanks: Alabama Athletics Communications

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Stan J Griffin

I am a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where I currently reside and work. I am doing regular sports and feature writing for the Tuscaloosa-based Druid City Living and also am the Alabama beat writer for Crimson Magazine. I am a 1993 graduate of the University of Alabama, where I wrote for The Crimson White. I have an extensive background in newspaper journalism, having served as a sports editor and reporter for the Delta Democrat Times, St. Clair News-Aegis, Andalusia Star-News and the St. Clair County News.

I also have my own sports blog site, The Sports Connection, which I partner on with a friend of mine, and we began this site in November of 2012. I write blog on a variety of sports subject, and have also had guest contributors write their own blogs for the site. I have interviewed prominent sports figures for the site, including Paul Finebaum of the new SEC Network.


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