Balanced Alabama takes down No. 5 Texas A&M

By Steve Habel, The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 31, 2017 at 12:06 AM
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John Petty scored 18 points to lead four scorers in double figures as Alabama rolled to a 79-57 win over short-handed No. 5 Texas A&M on Saturday at Coleman Coliseum in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

It was the Crimson Tide's first win by double digits against a top-five team since they beat Kentucky on Jan. 12, 1980, and their first victory over a top-five team since beating Stanford in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

Alabama (9-4, 1-0 SEC) never trailed and led by double digits for most of the second half, using an 11-1 run to build a 70-51 advantage with 6:23 to play.

The Crimson Tide, helped by a right leg injury to Aggies guard Duane Wilson that kept Texas A&M off kilter, cruised from there.

The Aggies (12-2, 0-1) usually rule inside with their dominating front line, but Alabama matched Texas A&M with 36 points in the paint.

Donta Hall added 17 points, and Collin Sexton and Dazon Ingram scored 16 each for the Crimson Tide. Alabama outshot Texas A&M 45.6 percent to 30 percent in the game.

The Aggies got 14 points apiece from post players Tyler Davis and Robert Williams but were just 2 of 20 on 3-point attempts, missed seven of their 20 free throws and were outrebounded 43-42.

The Crimson Tide's defense owned the first half as Alabama held Texas A&M to 29.7 percent shooting while building as much as a 12-point lead before settling for a 35-28 advantage at intermission. A&M never led in the first half.

Alabama was not much better offensively, shooting just 37.5 percent from the floor, but they did covert 3 of 12 3-point attempts and Texas A&M went 1 of 10.

Back-to-back 3-pointers form Petty, the second with 13:55 left in the second half, allowed Alabama to expand its lead to 57-41.

NOTES: Texas A&M matched its highest-ever ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 this week when the Aggies were slotted at No. 5. The 2015-16 Aggies also reached No. 5 in the AP poll. ... Alabama now owns an 11-5 advantage in the series with Texas A&M, including wins in four of the last five games. This game was the seventh time the two teams have played as SEC rivals. ... The Aggies played without leading scorer D.J. Hogg, who is serving the second game of a three-game suspension for breaking team rules, and guard Admon Gilder, who suffered a knee injury on Dec. 12 in a win over Savannah State and is not expected back until the new year. ... Texas A&M returns home to host Florida on Tuesday. Alabama heads to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt.

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