Oklahoma basketball: Alabama slows Trae Young, Tide rolls over Sooners, 80-73

TUSCALOOSA, AL - JANUARY 27: Collin Sexton
TUSCALOOSA, AL - JANUARY 27: Collin Sexton /

After a huge Oklahoma basketball win over No. 5 Kansas earlier in the week the Sooners fell flat at Alabama, dropping an 80-73 decision to the Crimson Tide in the Big 12/SEC Basketball Challenge.

The Alabama defense smothered Sooner freshman superstar Trae Young, holding the nation’s leading scorer to just 17 points, his second lowest total of the season. For the first time this season, someone other than Young led Oklahoma in scoring. Senior Khadeem Lattin, who averages 7.5 points a game, tallied 18 against Alabama on eight of 11 shooting to lead the Sooners.

Several dozen NBA scouts were among the over 15,000 in attendance at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to observe the two players believed to be the top two point guards in the country: OU’s Young and Alabama’s Collin Sexton.

The 12th-ranked Sooners fell behind early, trailing by as many as 13 points in the opening half. Young was just two of eight from the field and went to the locker room with a season-low five points. He didn’t score his first points in the game until the 8:42 mark in the first half.

Alabama led by six, 41-35 at the half. The Sooners rallied out of the locker room to open the second half. A 25-14 run put OU up by five, 60-55, with 11 minutes remaining in the game. But Alabama responded with a 13-0 run of its own to erase the deficit and go up by eight at 68-60. Oklahoma got no closer than five the rest of the way.

Sexton led the Crimson Tide with 18 points and Herbert Jones added 14 of Alabama’s 25 points of the bench.

A big difference maker in the game was the bench scoring. While Bama got 25 points from its reserves, the Oklahoma bench contributed just three points, and all three were by Kameron McGusty.

The Sooners also gave up a dozen fast-break points to the Crimson Tide, while producing no fast-break transition points of their own.

Young’s 17 points, on 6 of 17 shooting, including four out of nine from three-point range, were his fewest since scoring 15 points in Oklahoma’s season-opening win over Nebraska-Omaha. He had scored at least 20 points in 18 consecutive games before Saturday.

The loss was the Sooners fifth of the season to go along with 15 wins. Alabama’s record improves to 14-7. Oklahoma leads the all-time series with the Crimson Tide 3-2.

Next up for Oklahoma is a home game on Tuesday night against Baylor.