Down three starters in a battle for first place in the SEC, Alabama left Rupp Arena victorious for the first time in 15 years thanks to a barrage of three-pointers against an emotionally drained Kentucky basketball team.
Alabama did not have starting point guard Jahvon Quinerly in the lineup and two other starters, Herb Jones and Jordan Bruner, left the game with injuries. Despite the setback, Nate Oats’ team picked up a 85-65 win, his first career victory over Kentucky.
The Crimson Tide started the night on fire, making 10-of-22 first half three pointers. They initially pulled away from UK after the Wildcats went through another signature scoring drought. UK made just two shots in the final 8:27 of the first half. During that time a 13-1 Alabama run ultimately put the game out of reach. Alabama finished the night 14-of-30 from three-point land.
In addition to the Alabama threes, the turnover bug bit UK hard for the first time in 2021. A problem that plagued the Kentucky in the first half of the season, Alabama turned 19 UK turnovers into 29 points.
Kentucky did not look like the team that just won three straight games to start SEC play. That’s because they were not the same team. The unexpected death of a former teammate, Ben Jordan, loomed large over the locker room. An emotional night at Rupp Arena, the Wildcats honored their fallen friend in a variety of ways, they just could not do it with their play.