Alabama falls short in upset bid of No. 11 Wichita State, loses - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Alabama falls short in upset bid of No. 11 Wichita State, loses 72-67

Posted: Updated:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama coach Anthony Grant wants his team to start reaping the rewards in tight games.

Trevor Releford scored 22 points but the Crimson Tide lost another close one, falling 72-67 to No. 11 Wichita State on Tuesday night.

"It's disappointing, but it's not frustrating," Grant said. "We've had multiple games where we're a possession or two, a play or two ... from maybe having a different outcome. I'm disappointed for our guys because they're trying to do the things I'm asking them to do.

"Sometimes you need to be rewarded when you make that effort. That's where the mental toughness comes in as well."

The Tide (5-5) has had a pair of two-point defeats already.

Cleanthony Early scored 26 points and Fred VanVleet made two free throws with 11 seconds left for Wichita State (11-0), which extended the program's best start.

"We think that we're going to win," Shockers coach Gregg Marshall said. "You have to believe that you're going to win and you're going to make the plays. You can't go out there with doubt and just hope. I believe these guys have that in their mind."

Early scored nine straight points for Wichita State during one late stretch.

Rodney Cooper's 3-pointer brought Alabama to 65-64 with 1:57 remaining. VanVleet responded with a basket and Darius Carter scored on a putback with 37 seconds remaining on a possession when Wichita State rebounded two missed shots.

"It was just 50-50 balls," said Releford, who hit two free throws in between those field goals. "They wanted it more down the stretch on that play. Those are plays we've got to get down the stretch to get over that hump."

Alabama collected a long rebound, but Retin Obasohan's 3-pointer missed with 15 seconds left, forcing the Tide to foul.

VanVleet iced the game at the line.

Early was 7 of 11 from the field and hit all 11 free throw attempts. The Shockers were 25 of 27 from the line.

"We shoot free throws all the time and I always want a wide-open shot, and that's a wide-open shot," Early said. "I'll take it."

VanVleet and Tekele Cotton each had 11 points for Wichita State, which outrebounded Alabama 38-26. Leading scorer Ron Baker was held to eight points for the second straight game since injuring his left ankle. He got in foul trouble and played just 16 minutes, tweaking his ankle again at one point.

"I don't know how he's out there playing, but he is," Marshall said. "He's a tough, tough guy."

Releford led Alabama with 22 points after missing the Charleston Southern game with a hip injury.

Releford also had six assists and made three 3-pointers but was scoreless in the first 14 minutes. Rodney Cooper had 14 points for Alabama.

The game marked the first time a ranked nonconference opponent had played at Coleman Coliseum since No. 5 Purdue in December 2009. The Shockers are the second-highest ranked team to visit.

They left with their second straight win over a Southeastern Conference team after beating Tennessee 70-61.

Alabama got its biggest lead, 56-53, with 6:22 left on Nick Jacobs' dunk. Then Baker hit a 3-pointer and Early went on his nine-point binge, hitting all five free throw attempts during that stretch and also scoring on a dunk after a pass from Baker.

Cooper's 3-pointer brought Alabama to 65-64 with 1:57 remaining.

The Tide had a chance to make it a one-score game with 8 seconds left, but Obasohan missed the second of two free throws. Cotton then made a foul shot at the other end.

Alabama had sliced an early 10-point deficit to 33-32 at halftime. The Tide took its only lead of the half on Cooper's 3-pointer with 53 seconds left. Then Cotton answered with two free throws to give the Shockers the halftime edge.

"We knew coming into the game where they were strong," Grant said. "Obviously rebounding the basketball. Very good defensively. I thought our guys did a good job in the first half of weathering the storm when we got down.

"In the second half, it was back and forth. Came down to a few plays at the end. Some rebounds, some opportunities that we didn't finish."

Follow John Zenor on Twitter @jzenor

  • Auburn University SportsMore>>

  • Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:33:03 GMT
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.More >>
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.
    More >>
  • CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:22:20 GMT
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
  • Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-23 22:37:43 GMT
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 8:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 00:38:39 GMT
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
  • Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Friday, July 18 2014 5:11 PM EDT2014-07-18 21:11:55 GMT
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.More >>
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.
    More >>
  • JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    Friday, July 18 2014 4:08 PM EDT2014-07-18 20:08:13 GMT
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.More >>
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.
    More >>