TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama men’s basketball team ended up being one of the first four teams out of the NCAA tournament putting them as a number one seed in the NIT.
The Tide came in as a 16 point favorite of the eight seed Norfolk State University Spartans, but the Spartans pulled off the upset beating Alabama 80-79 in overtime in Tuscaloosa Wednesday night.
Head coach Avery Johnson says he knows his team can do better and they’re gonna use this loss as a momentum for next season.
“The way we lost this game is some of the reasons why we didn’t make it to the NCAA tournament, so it gives us a lot to work on whenever we can get started with our off season training,” Johnson said. “I told those guys we don’t ever wanna feel like this again. Every time we lift a weight or run a sprint or work on free throws or in practice work on not turning the ball over whatever it is every single day we practice we don’t ever wanna feel like this again and we’re capable of having a much better season than we had this year.”
Norfolk State forward Steven Whitley commented on Alabama’s effort saying, “We saw in warm ups that it was going to be sweet, the way they (were) lagging around”, and the Alabama players agreed that the energy just wasn’t there in Coleman Coliseum.
“Coming out playing in the NIT with the crowd normally there, I’m not blaming it on them, but when your crowd’s normally there you’re used to a little up tempo, but you see not that many people there and you know it’s an NIT game so it’s kind of hard to get up for that one,” said Alabama freshman guard, Kira Lewis Jr.