Coming into the weekend, Alabama was on a 10-game winning streak and had a three-game lead atop the SEC standings. Oklahoma came into the matchup ready, as they’ve competed well at Baylor, almost won at Kansas with a limited roster and have won four straight Big 12 games. In the end, No. 9 Alabama took a close loss to No. 24 Oklahoma at the Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners picked up their third straight win over a top-10 opponent this season.
Here are some takeaways from Saturday’s matchup.
Alabama needs to up their game against ranked teams
Although Alabama sits at an impressive nine wins and zero losses in conference play and 14-4 this season, they have not yet proved to be able to beat great teams. This year, the team has not had much chance to play against any top teams; they’ve only played twice against ranked programs after the loss to Oklahoma. They were able to pull off a 71-63 win over ranked Tennessee earlier this month. They’re now ranked 1-1 against AP top 25 teams and will face No. 12 Missouri on February 6. The game against the Tigers will likely be their last ranked opponent coming into March. The Crimson Tide has not had much experience playing against any top-tier teams throughout the year, and the matchup against Oklahoma was a chance to prove they could win at a high level. Now, there may be doubt.
Oklahoma has depth they can rely on
Many have been cautionary about how Oklahoma would play, coming into the night with both Austin Reaves and Alondes Williams out due to COVID-19 protocols. Despite missing two key starters, one of which being arguably their best player, the Sooners played the same way they’ve done all year. De’Vion Harmon led the way, scoring 18 points. Starters Elijah Harkless and Umoja Gibson combined for 26 and Brady Manek added 12 coming off the bench. The team was able to put away a top 10 team in the nation without two role players, which adds another impressive addition to The Sooners’ win category.
“It’s huge,” said Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger. “Anytime you can win a game like that is big from a resume standpoint, big from a confidence standpoint, momentum. It’s continuing to move in the right direction. Those wins, you never take those for granted.”
John Petty struggled in a game the Crimson Tide needed
Senior John Petty played a big role in Alabama’s struggles on Saturday. Entering the game, the guard led the team in scoring with 13.9 points per game. However, he was held to nine points on 2-of-8 shooting against Oklahoma. The senior hasn’t been able to find a rhythm as of lately, with a 33.3 field-goal percentage over the past three games. Petty also had one assist to four turnovers. Rounding out the end of the season, Alabama will need Petty to become the efficient player he once was if the team wants a run in March.
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