Alabama and UCLA put together the game of the day in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 on Sunday. The teams traded leads and runs, and Alabama needed a 3-pointer at the buzzer in regulation to send the game to overtime. The Bruins dominated in the extra period and won 88-78 to advance to the Elite Eight, where they will take on Michigan.
The Crimson Tide were the No. 2 seed in the region and favored in the game, but they stumbled. So where did they go wrong? They couldn’t make a free throw to save their lives.
The Tide went 11-for-25 (44 percent) at the free throw line in the game. According to ESPN’s Stats and Information, that is the worst mark since Kansas shot 12-for-30 (40 percent) in the championship game against Syracuse in 2003.
Alabama was 11-25 FT.
That's the worst FT performance by a team to attempt at least 25 free throws in the NCAA Tournament since Kansas was 12-30 in the 2003 National Championship game against Syracuse. pic.twitter.com/kYB8HZS051
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 29, 2021
That’s really bad.
Perhaps no free throw misses stung more than Herbert Jones missing consecutive free throws with six seconds left and Alabama down 63-62. Had he made his free throws, it would have put pressure on UCLA to deliver a winning basket in regulation. As it was, Jones’ 2-for-7 performance on free throws really hurt 'Bama.
Now UCLA is on to the Elite Eight, which will give the Pac-12 three of the final eight.