Tide tops Tigers to earn 20th win of season

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama men's basketball team improved to 20-9 and 9-6 in Southeastern Conference play, winning its fourth game in a row and fifth straight over its in-state rival, with a 55-49 victory over the Auburn Tigers in front of 14,253 fans at Coleman Coliseum Wednesday.

In his last game at Coleman Coliseum, senior forward JaMychal Green notched his 25th career double-double, scoring 15 points to go with 10 rebounds. Freshman guard Trevor Lacey added 10 points while freshmen guards Levi Randolph and Rodney Cooper chipped in seven points apiece.

Auburn (14-15, 4-11 SEC) was led by Kenny Gabriel, who had 10 points on the night.

"I think in the second half our guys' ability to get to the free throw line and their ability to make some stops that we needed was the difference in the game," Tide head coach Anthony Grant said.

"I thought we guarded fairly well," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "We just couldn't score. That has kind of been the story for this year."

Auburn jumped out to a quick 10-4 lead over the first five minutes of action and held a 14-10 advantage at the 10:18 mark of the half. From there the Crimson Tide unleashed a 13-0 run that spanned just over eight minutes, to grab a 23-14 lead. During that stretch, the Alabama defense held Auburn to 0-of-5 shooting, while forcing four turnovers.  After the UA run, Auburn outscored the Tide 7-0 over the final minutes of the half to cut the Alabama lead to 23-21 at intermission.

Alabama pushed its advantage to 30-25 over the first three minutes of the second half until the Tigers used a 9-1 run to take a 36-33 lead at the 12:59 juncture. The lead changed hands three times over the next five minutes until Alabama slowly pulled away over the game's final six-plus minutes.

With the game tied 43-43, a pair of free throws and a layup by junior guard Andrew Steele gave the Tide a four-point advantage with just under five minutes to play. The Tigers would cut the UA lead to two points on two separate occasions over the next three minutes of game time, but could get no closer.

Alabama closed out the game from the free-throw line connecting on 6-of-8 free throws over the final 1:23, complemented by a Green tip-in with 37 seconds remaining, to earn the victory.

Alabama closes out its regular-season slate Saturday, March 3 as it travels to Oxford, Miss. to take on the Mississippi Rebels. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. (CST).

Auburn returns home for its regular season finale against LSU on Saturday at 1 pm Central on Senior Day.