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December 17, 2011

UA struggles in second half, falls to KSU

KANSAS CITY, Mo. | The University of Alabama basketball team didn't make a weekend trip to the big city without leaving something behind: its national ranking.

The Crimson Tide dropped its third game in its last four outings before a large crowd at the Sprint Center, taking a second-half pasting from a decent but unranked Kansas State team in a 71-58 defeat.

The loss was the most one-sided for Alabama since a 27-point pasting at Florida last season.

"I thought Kansas State did a good job against our pressure in the second half," said UA coach Anthony Grant. "You look at the numbers, shooting 63 percent inn the second half and us turning it over 18 times, it's hard to win on the road with numbers like that.

"We had a tough time getting the defensive intensity we needed in the second half and Kansas State got into a rhythm, getting out in transition and getting to the free throw line."

Grant did not specifically address Alabama's ongoing offensive difficulties.

"We come into games trying to win," he said. "It's never about how many points we score. But 18 turnovers and them shooting 63 percent in the second half makes it difficult."

Alabama (8-3) actually had a lead in the second half, going up 35-34 on a JaMychal Green layup with 15:08 to play. But the Wildcats (7-1) answered with a 13-2 run over the next five minutes, essentially burying Alabama in that stretch.

Jordan Henriquez, a 6-foot-11 reserve, came off the bench to score a career high 17 points to lead the Wildcats.

Green led Alabama with 20 points. Sophomore Trevor Releford, playing in his hometown of Kansas City, added 14 for UA.

Neither offense sparkled in the first half. Kansas State shot just 33.3 percent, but still managed to hold a two-point lead, 26-24, at intermission. Alabama turned the ball over 10 times in the half, in part because UA's stagnant perimeter offense forced the Crimson Tide to attack in the crowded middle of the floor. As a result, UA was outscored 18-9 over the last nine minutes of the half.

When the Wildcats went on a second run in the second half, UA lacked the firepower to answer. The game was the fourth straight contest in which Alabama has scored less than 63 points.

Freshman Nick Jacobs was back in the Alabama starting lineup for a second straight game but was limited by foul problems and scored just four points.

Alabama will face a second consecutive Big 12 opponent on Wednesday night when it plays Oklahoma State in the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil.hurt@tuscaloosanews.com or 205-722-0225.


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