Tide remains cold in home loss to Tulane

Alabama's Trevor Lacey dribbles against Tulane during the first half of Sunday's game. (AP photo by Erin Nelson of The Tuscaloosa News)

Alabama’s Trevor Lacey dribbles against Tulane during the first half of Sunday’s game. (AP photo by Erin Nelson of The Tuscaloosa News)

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — As the calendar hit December, the weather and Alabama’s basketball team went cold.

The Crimson Tide fell at home Sunday 53-50 to Tulane, marking the fourth time this month Alabama couldn’t hit the 60-point mark.

Even a defensive-minded coach like Alabama’s Anthony Grant sees a problem in that.

“Tonight, what cost us the game was our inability to have success on the offensive end,” Grant said.

Alabama (7-5) has lost five of its last six, including three straight at home. Sunday saw the Crimson Tide produce its worst offensive output of the year.

Alabama went scoreless for stretches of 5:43 in the first half, 6:10 early in the second and 3:53 near the end of the game. The Tide had a second-half stretch of 2:52 in which it scored only a point.

“I’m always searching for answers as a coach,” Grant said. “I’ll continue to search. … From the vantage point I have, we got decent looks that we weren’t able to convert.”

Alabama held a 45-42 lead with 4:21 to play when guard Trevor Releford sank a layup. Tulane answered by scoring eight points to grab the advantage for good, as Josh Davis made a layup, and Jordan Callahan sank a pair of 3-pointers on consecutive possessions.

The Crimson Tide didn’t score again until Rodney Cooper made two foul shots with 28 seconds to play. Tulane led 50-47 after that, and Alabama never caught up.

The Tide had the ball with about nine seconds left and trailed only 53-50 after a Tulane missed foul shot, but Cooper missed a 30-foot 3-pointer that hit the backboard, then the rim and bounced away at the buzzer.

“We didn’t want them to get a quick score,” Tulane coach Ed Conroy said. “We wanted to make them shoot over the top.”

Post player Nick Jacobs provided Alabama with an offensive bright spot with 12 points in his first start of the season, including 10 in the second half. Grant said Tulane’s defense allowed gaps to get Jacobs the ball, and the Tide guards found him.

Trevor Lacey also had 12, and Releford — who entered with a team-high 16.3 points a game — managed only six points on five shots from the field.

After the previous game, a home loss to Mercer eight days earlier, Grant blasted his team’s effort. He didn’t do that in this case.

“From an effort standpoint, I thought the guys tried to do the things I ask them to do,” Grant said. “It’s unfortunatel tonight things didn’t go our way.”

But for the second straight game, he didn’t allow players to speak to reporters afterward.

“I can answer your questions as well as any of them can,” Grant said.

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