Alabama led most of the game Sunday, but at crunch time Tulane made the big shots and the Crimson Tide came up short. The Green Wave took a 53-50 win as a final Bama three-point try was off the mark.
After starting the season 6-0, Alabama fell to 7-5, while Tulane improved to 11-3.
Alabama has its final non-conference game of the regular season on Saturday, Jan. 5, when the Crimson Tide hosts Oakland. Bama opens Southeastern Conference play on Jan. 8 at Missouri and has its SEC home opener Jan. 12, hosting Tennessee.
Tulane’s Jordan Callahan drained a pair of three-point shots in the final two minutes and Bama misfired on a couple of three-point opportunities that would have tied the game in the final minute.
Nick Jacobs and Trevor Lacey led Alabama with 12 points each. Josh Davis had 18 points and Callahan had 12, all on three-point shots.
Alabama played decent defense for the most part, holding Tulane to only 36 per cent shooting(18-50). In the second half, however, the Green Wave made 5-10 three-point shots. Rebounding was a problem for Bama. Although the Tide lost the battle of the boards by only two, 33-31, Tulane had 13 offensive rebounds and outscored the Tide 10-5 on second chance points.
Alabama made 19 of 48 shots (39.6 per cent), but only 3-15. Bama’s last three-point attempt to send the game to overtime was a desperation effort from Rodney Cooper. It was too strong, off the backboard and then off the front of the rim.
Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said, “It was a tough one again. It’s tough what we’re going through. We’re disappointed. From an effort standpoint, I thought our guys did what we asked them to do. Unfortunately, things did not go our way.
“We had stretches on the offensive end, but we went several minutes with no field goals.
“They really hurt us with some threes and some second chance points off offensive rebounds and loose balls they came up with.
“We’ve got to be able to fight out way out of it.”
Alabama, which played zone most of the game, had a five-point lead and extended that to seven on a couple of occasions early in the second half, but Tulane went on a 12-0 run to go from down 31-24 to up 36-31 before Jacobs made a short jump hook to end the run. And that started Alabama on an 11-0 to go back on top by 42-36.
Trevor Releford made a nice drive and scoop shot to give the Tide a 45-39 lead with just over four minutes to play, but the Green Wave responded with key shots, particularly the two by Callahan that made it 50-45. Cooper hit a pair of free throws with 28 seconds, the Tide was within three at 50-47.
Bama’s first chance to tie the game came when Tulane missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw situation with 27 seconds to play, but Releford turned the ball over.
Tulane’s Kendall Timmons made a pair of free throws, but Lacey nailed a three-pointer from the corner to keep Bama in touch at 50-52. Davis made one of two foul shots with seven seconds to play. When he missed the second, Bama got the rebound and raced downcourt where Cooper’s last shot missed the mark.
Alabama led the first half from start to finish. It took a while for scoring to begin and it never heated up as the Tide had a 25-20 advantage at intermission. Five of those Tide points came in the final two minutes. The first score didn’t come until Trevor Lacey drove the lane and put up a left-handed scoop three minutes into the game.
Both teams started in zone defense. Tulane abandoned the zone a few minutes in. Bama stayed with the 2-3 zone until midway through the first half. Alabama had as much as a six-point lead in the first half.
The Tide held Tulane to only 28 per cent first half shooting (7-25), while Bama was making 10-24 (41.7 per cent). The Green Wave threw up 11 three-point shots and made only two. Bama also made just two, but shot only seven.
TIDE NOTES: Among the NBA scouts on hand for the game were former Alabama Head Coach David Hobbs, who works for the Utah Jazz, and former Crimson Tide Assistant Coach Gregg Polinski, who scouts for the New York Nets.
Alabama’s starting lineup was four guards -- Trevor Lacey, Trevor Releford, Levi Randolph, Rodney Cooper -- and post player Nick Jacobs.
Junior center Moussa Gueye had been considered questionable for the game because of a stomach problem earlier in the week, but Gueye was able to play 16 minutes. He didn’t score, but had six rebounds and was a defensive stopper.
The game was the first between Alabama and Tulane since 1998. Bama’s lead in the series is 52-32.