“They are a very good basketball team and we knew that coming in,” Crimson Tide coach Anthony Grant said. “There is a reason they are a top-11 team in the country and undefeated right now. They do a great job defending. We really struggled to have any continuity from an offensive standpoint because of their defense.”
Wichita State out-rebounded Alabama 38-36, made 25 of its 27 free throws, scored 11 second chance points and 12 fast break points.
“They did a good job getting to the free throw line and rebounding the basketball,” Grant said. “Those two areas were the difference tonight. We struggled to limit them to one shot. If you look at the last few possessions, they were able to get multiple shots at the rim. We didn’t get stops. That and the free throw line were the differences tonight.”
Down one with less than a minute to go, Alabama stopped Wichita State twice, but couldn’t secure the rebound and allowed the Shockers to extend their lead. From there, it was over as Wichita State made all of its free throws down the stretch.
“It was just 50-50 balls,” Releford said. “They wanted it more than us down the stretch. Those are plays we have to make down the stretch to get over that hump. We’ll watch film and see it. We just have to learn from it.”
Alabama ends its three-game homestand Saturday night when it squares off against the Xavier Musketeers at 6 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised on CSS and can also be seen on ESPN3.com.