John Petty Jr.’s game-tying 3-pointer swished through the net with ease with 14 seconds remaining to even up a game that appeared over 4:18 into the contest Wednesday night.
But that would be the last of Alabama’s shooting barrage as No. 11 Auburn scored the first eight points of overtime and outscored the Crimson Tide 14-10 in the extra period to even the regular-season rivalry series with a 95-91 overtime victory inside a packed Auburn Arena.
In a game where the Crimson Tide never led and only tied it twice, the last time on Petty’s fifth of six 3-pointers of the night, Alabama’s comeback after falling behind 16-0 early included a school- and SEC-single-game record for both attempted and made 3s on a 22-of-59 effort from beyond the arch Wednesday night.
Still, it wasn’t nearly enough against the 11th-ranked Tigers, who made its first three field goals and 6-of-8 from the free throw line in the overtime period to pull out the harder-than-it-should’ve-been win.
Auburn had five players in double figures, including 19 points from freshman guard Isaac Okoro and 18 apiece from Samir Doughty and senior center Austin Wiley, who also pulled down 17 of the Tigers' season-high 60 rebounds on the evening.
Meanwhile, Alabama freshman guard Jaden Shackelford led the way with 28 points on 9-of-23 shooting, including seven made 3s, while Petty added 20 points on 6-of-11 from 3-point range.
Kira Lewis Jr. became just the second player in Crimson Tide history to record a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists, joining Roy Rogers who accomplished the feat twice in 1996.
Here are three takeaways from Wednesday night's 95-91 overtime loss at Auburn.
Record night from 3 helps Alabama battle back
Living and dying by the 3 isn’t always conducive to success, and Alabama found that out once again Wednesday night.
After struggling early, and falling behind by 16 in the game's opening five minutes, Alabama's shooting prowess from the outside was its lone saving grace.
The Crimson Tide made an SEC-record 22 3-pointers on another SEC-record 59 attempts, including 9-of-22 in the first half and 10-of-28 in the second half.
Alabama's second-half effort from beyond the arch, including out-producing Auburn 10-to-3 from 3-point range — a combined seven 3s from Shackelford and Petty.
Alabama's first five made field goals in the second half came by way of the 3-point shot as the Tide pulled within 57-56 on the fourth of Petty's 3-pointers on the evening with 14:06 remaining.
But over the next five minutes, Alabama managed to make just 1 of its next 6 3-point tries bofore back-to-back 3s from Jaden Shackelford to pull within 76-72 with 5:24 remaining in regulation. Lewis added a 3-pointer to cut it to 79-78 with 3:58 left.
From there, though, the Tide missed its next six straight 3s before Petty's game-tying trey with 14 seconds left in regulation as the Tide shot 4-of-12 from 3 over the last 5:56 of the second half.
Rebounding remains issue
Already limited from a bigs perspective, Alabama really had no answer for Auburn’s 6-foot-11 senior center Austin Wiley, especially during a first half when Wiley scored 9 of his 18 points and pulled down seven of his 17 rebounds.
But where Wiley did most of his damage was on the offensive boards, accounting for eight of the Tigers' 20-15 offensive rebounding advantage in the game.
Auburn held an 11-1 rebounding advantage as it mounted a 16-0 advantage in the opening minutes, including six offensive boards. From there, though, Alabama held serve as the Tigers outrebounded the Tide 49-43 over the final 40-plus minutes of action.
Jones returns in defensive-only capacity
Less than 2 weeks removed from undergoing surgery to repair a fractured left wrist, Alabama junior wing Herb Jones returned to the court Wednesday inside Auburn Arena.
Sporting a heavy back cast that covered all but his fingers on his left hand, Jones stepped onto the floor following the game’s first media timeout and played a pair of defensive possession before returning to the bench.
Unable to do much with a still-sore left wrist, Jones played less than three and a half total minutes in the first half before entering and then quickly exiting after picking up his third foul with 12:48 left in the first half. He'd return though, and even recorded a one-handed block and rebound off a Samir Doughty missed jumper with four and a half minutes remaining.
That was effectively Jones’ role in Wednesday’s rivalry game, a momentary defensive replacement that contributed in any way he could physically.
A one-handed Jones fouled out with 17.7 seconds left in overtime but still managed to pull down three key rebounds down the stretch in seven minutes of action.
It'll be interesting to see just how much more Jones plays Saturday at home against LSU, which would undoubtedly involve him matching up against good friend Trendon Watford. LSU was the team he fractured his wrist against three weeks ago.