TUSCALOOSA, Ala. » Ben Eblen matched his scoring average with one free throw in the final seconds for his lone point. How Alabama’s reserve guard got to the line was much more important.
Eblen grabbed a steal and made one of two free throws with 2.8 seconds left to help the Crimson Tide preserve a 68-66 victory over No. 12 Kentucky last night.
"It was an all-out effort for everybody," said Tide forward JaMychal Green, who had 18 points and 11 rebounds. "That’s what it’s going to take for us to win games."
The Wildcats, who had nearly erased a 20-point deficit, rebounded the missed foul shot but couldn’t get a good shot off at the buzzer after back-to-back timeouts. Terrence Jones dribbled across midcourt and heaved a wild 3-pointer in traffic that caromed high off the backboard.
The Crimson Tide (11-7, 3-1 Southeastern) had lost the last five meetings with the league powerhouse.
Alabama surged to a 52-32 lead with a 15-2 spurt over the first 5 minutes of the second half before the Wildcats (14-4, 2-2) forced turnovers on seven consecutive possessions to spark the comeback.
Then, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb botched an exchange on the perimeter and Eblen grabbed the ball in the final seconds.
Wildcats coach John Calipari said he learned something about his team in the key sequences down the stretch.
"We had no business being in the game the way we played," he said. "Then all of a sudden we have the ball in a one-point game and had a chance to win. I’m learning, who do I go to? We went to the wrong guys."
No. 9 BYU 83, TCU 67
Jimmer Fredette scored 21 points, Jackson Emery hit five 3-pointers and the Cougars (18-1, 4-0 in the Mountain West) won their eighth straight.
Ronnie Moss scored 27 points for the visiting Horned Frogs (10-10, 1-4).
No. 23 Illinois 71, No. 17 Michigan State 62
Brandon Paul scored 17 of his 20 points in the first half to lead the host Illini (14-5, 4-3 Big Ten) past the Spartans (12-6, 4-2).
Demetri McCamey had 15 points and 11 assists for Illinois.
Michigan State was led by Kalin Lucas, who scored 15 points.
No. 23 Georgetown 80, Seton Hall 75
Austin Freeman scored 28 points and the visiting Hoyas (14-5, 3-4 Big East) went 8-for-9 from the free-throw line in the final 2:11 to hold off the Pirates (8-11, 2-5).
Jeff Robinson had 21 points for Seton Hall, which has lost five of six.