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No. 11 Wichita State nearly perfect free throw percentage makes the difference

BBall_TTU039Alabama Basketball took on the No. 11 (AP) ranked Wichita State Shockers in Coleman Coliseum in front of a very good crowd, especially with school being out for the holidays.  The Shockers come into the game as the second-highest ranked non-conference team, and just the 11th non-conference team ranked in the AP top-25 poll, to ever play at Alabama. Oh, and did I mention that the Kanas based team is undefeated on the season so far and they remain that way as they defeat Alabama 72 – 67. The Shockers continue their best start in school history and move to 11-0 while Alabama goes to 5-5.

The game didn’t start out well for the Crimson Tide with ten turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game but as the first half wound down Alabama shooters started to heat up.  The Tide went on a 12 – 4 run with just under four minutes to go in the half and managed to tie the game a couple of times before going in at the half only trailing by one (33-32).

Releford, who was held out of the game against Charleston Southern on Saturday due to a nagging hip, played well on the night.  The senior from Kansas City scored 22 points on the night but he was not the top scorer of the night.  That would go to Wichita State junior Cleanthony Early with 26 points and 5 rebounds.

Alabama came out in the second half trying to shock the Shockers taking the lead on multiple occasions, hitting the three’s, and playing aggressive.  But, Wichita State proved why they are ranked No. 11 and undefeated on the season up to this point.  As Alabama would gain the lead and some momentum Wichita would bring the ball back down the court and match the score.  There was only really one point in the second half that Alabama managed to hold on to the lead for more than a couple of minutes but the Crimson Tide was always within striking distance until the last 45 seconds of the game.BBall_TTU015

As the final seconds ticked away Rodney Cooper drove to the basket and bring the score within one but missed, and then on the rebound Retin Obasohan missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game. The game was in hand for the visitors at that point.

The biggest difference maker in the game was Wichita State’s failure to miss a free throw. The Shockers went 25-27 or nearly 93% while the Crimson Tide was 14 of 19 (73.7%) making this the tipping point in the game.

Alabama will take on Xavier on Saturday at 6 PM CT to ends its three-game homestand.  The Crimson Tide vs. Musketeers matchup will be televised on CSS and can also be seen on ESPN3.com.

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