TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — No Collin Sexton, no problem.
While one of Alabama’s five-star freshmen was kept on the bench Wednesday night, its other one couldn’t be kept off the scoreboard. John Petty led the Crimson Tide with a game-high 27 points on eight 3s as Alabama took down No. 17 Auburn 76-71. Wednesday night inside Coleman Coliseum.
Alabama pulled off the upset without its starting point guard in Sexton, who was ruled out of the game due to an abdominal injury. Following the game, Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said Sexton injured himself during Monday's practice and is "day-to-day" moving forward. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound freshman is Alabama’s leader in points per game (19.3) and assists per game (3.4).
The game marked Alabama’s third straight SEC win, a feat the Crimson Tide didn’t accomplish all of last season. The last time Alabama (12-6, 4-2 in the SEC) won three straight conference games was during the 2015-16 season when it recorded five straight wins against Mississippi State, Missouri, Texas A&M, Florida and LSU.
Auburn (16-2, 4-1) suffered its first conference loss of the season.
Wednesday night also marked the second straight game Alabama has won despite being without a member of its usual starting five. The Crimson Tide was without forward Donta Hall (wrist) during Saturday’s 74-66 win at LSU. Wednesday night, Hall entered midway through the first half and finished with 2 points and five rebounds.
Both teams struggled with turnovers as Alabama gave up the ball 19 times while Auburn coughed it up on 14 occasions. However, the Crimson Tide was able to capitalize on more mistakes, outscoring the Tigers 21-16 off of the turnovers.
Here are some notes from Wednesday night’s game:
Tide's top performers
Petty’s eight 3s were two away from his school-record performance against Alabama A&M earlier this season when he hit 10 shots from beyond the arc. Petty finished the night 9 of 14 from the court and 8 of 13 from 3-point range. The two time Mr. Basketball in Alabama is now 18 of 26 from 3 against teams from the state this season.
Replacing Sexton at point guard, Dazon Ingram scored 16 points to go with three rebounds. Freshman forward Herbert Jones also had a solid night with 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
It was over when
Alabama held on for a close victory despite struggling at the free-throw line in the final minute. Leading 70-67 with 28.6 remaining, Ingram was fouled and hit both of his free throws to put Alabama back up by two possessions.
However, from there Alabama’s luck at the line turned.
After Mustapha Herron hit 1 of 2 free throws on the other end, Alabama forward Alex Reese followed up with 1 of 2 on the other end. Bryce Brown then hit a 3-point shot to cut the lead to 73-71 with 5.5 seconds remaining. Petty then his just 1 of 2 free throws to keep it a one-possession game, but Brown stepped out of bounds with 2.1 second remaining to give Alabama the ball back.
Alabama will host Mississippi State (14-4) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network. The Bulldogs stopped a three-game skid with a 80-62 victory over Vanderbilt on Tuesday. Last season, Alabama won both meetings against Mississippi State, beating the Bulldogs 68-58 in Starkville, Miss., before coming away with a 75-55 win in the regular-season finale in Tuscaloosa.
Mississippi State is led by junior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon, 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, who is averaging 14.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. The Bulldogs also feature junior big man Aric Holman, 6-foot-10, 225 pounds, who averages 12.2 points and 7.2 rebounds.
Following the game against Mississippi State, Alabama will travel to Ole Miss on Tuesday, Jan. 23 before returning home for a non-conference game against No. 4 Oklahoma on Jan. 27.