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Alabama basketball falls 92-86 to Purdue in Toronto. Here’s how it happened

Alabama men’s basketball dropped its toughest test of the 2023-24 season so far on Saturday. The Crimson Tide went to Toronto, Canada, to face No. 4 Purdue, and had a chance to win the game through to the end.

Alabama got off to a hot start, but couldn’t finish the game. The Boilermakers won 92-86, dropping the Tide to 6-3 on the season.

“I thought our kids battled,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said after the game. “Purdue’s arguably the best team in the country, but we were right there at the end. Our kids went toe-to-toe with them for 40 minutes. We just gotta figure out a way to get some wins in these big games.”

Mark Sears led the way for Alabama, finishing with 35 points. He made eight of his 16 three-point attempts and chipped in on the boards with three rebounds.

“Offensively he’s playing a lot more on the ball,” Oats said, comparing Sears’ 2023-24 efforts to last season’s. “Point guard, getting downhill a little bit more. Attacking, being pretty aggressive.”

Alabama had to face off with Purdue big man Zach Edey, a Toronto native, playing in his home country. Given UA’s rim protection issues throughout the season, it was always going to be a struggle.

Edey gave the Tide all it could handle, scoring 35 points and grabbing seven rebounds. He also contributed heavily to Alabama’s foul issues, with Mo Wague and Nick Pringle both fouling out.

“I haven’t seen anything like him,” Oats said of the 7-foot-4 Edey. “When I was at Buffalo, we played against Deandre Ayton. Ayton’s big, strong. We were able to do a better job on Ayton by a long shot than we were able to do on Zach.”

Alabama will be back in action next Saturday at Creighton.

Here are the highlights from Saturday’s game.


— Alabama head coach Nate Oats said on the pregame radio show that Grant Nelson is expected to play. He was injured during the Crimson Tide’s win over Arkansas State.

— Alabama’s starters: Mark Sears, Arron Estrada, Rylan Griffen, Grant Nelson, Mohamed Wague.

— Purdue’s starters: Trey Kaufman-Renn, Zach Edey, Fletcher Loyer, Braden Smith, Lance Jones.

1st half

–Alabama wins the opening tip. Aaron Estrada makes the first bucket of the game for the Crimson Tide.

— UA leads 16-9 at the under 16 timeout. Crimson Tide gets off to a hot start, hitting its first four three-pointers to jump out to an early lead. The Tide is 5-for-5 from the floor and kept Edey 0-for-2 on field goals.

— Nick Pringle enters the game for Alabama. He missed the Arkansas State game due to a suspension.

— Officials reviewing a play for possible technical fouls. Alabama leads 19-12 with 13:42 left in the half. No technical was found, but UA picks up its sixth personal foul early. Pringle and Mo Wague have two each.

— Tide up 22-14 at the under-12 timeout. Wague has hit a three pointer, UA is 6-of-9 total from three.

— Alabama leads 31-23 at the under-8 timeout. Pringle picks up his third personal foul for the Crimson Tide. Mark Sears leads UA with nine points.

— Crimson Tide leads 37-32 with 3:49 left in the half. Sears up to 12 points for UA, which went cold momentarily, but has regained some momentum. Has several players in foul trouble, as Nick Pringle has three while Mo Wague and Grant Nelson have two each.

— Wague picks up his third foul with 5.2 seconds left in the half.

— Alabama leads 49-47 at halftime.

Halftime analysis

Alabama has lived by the three-pointer in the first half. The Crimson Tide shot 25 of them, hitting 13.

Mark Sears has been on fire offensively, finishing the half with 15 points, including four three-pointers. UA came out playing absolutely fearless basketball, which seemed to be the only chance it has to beat the favored Purdue squad.

Unfortunately for Alabama, that’s come at a cost. Mo Wague and Nick Pringle have three fouls each, and Grant Nelson has two.

With Purdue’s Zach Edey still down low in his homecoming game, that’s going to be a concern going forward. Either way it ends, this has the makings of a high-scoring affair.

2nd half

— Game is back underway. Wague hits the first bucket of the half for Alabama, but has also picked up his fourth foul.

— Crimson Tide up 55-47 and Purdue takes a timeout with 17:33 left in the half. Alabama has already picked up three fouls this half.

— Nick Pringle commits his fourth foul just before the under-16 timeout. Alabama leads 58-49 and has made 54% of its three-point attempts so far. Zach Edey has 18 points for Purdue.

— Purdue pulls within three points and Nate Oats calls a timeout with 13:02 left. Tide still up 60-57.

— Alabama lead is down to 60-59 at the under-12 timeout. Purdue is on a 6-0 run and UA hasn’t scored in the past 2:25.

— Purdue has taken a 73-66 lead at the under-8 eight timeout. Alabama has made just two of its last 11 shots from the field. Edey is up to 24 points for the Boilermakers.

— Alabama has come back to bring the Purdue lead down to 75-72 with 4:51 left. A play that featured a Zach Edey foul is under review. The play is changed to a hook-and-hold on Edey.

— Purdue up 79-76 with 3:42 left in Toronto. Mark Sears hit a three to briefly put the Crimson Tide back on top, but the Boilermakers responded.

— Nick Pringle fouls out with 3:04 left.

— Mo Wague fouls out with 1:05 left in the game and Purdue up 87-84.

— Alabama makes it a 89-86 game with 22.9 seconds left. Oats calls a timeout.

— Purdue wins the game 92-86.

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