Alabama hands Auburn its first loss of the season

 espn.com  01/16/2020 05:48:56 
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Lewis blows by fallen Auburn defender, scores the layup (0:28)

Kira Lewis Jr. is too much for the Auburn defense as he gets to the rack for the lay-in. The Alabama guard was slow to get up after the play. (0:28)

12:48 AM ET

Here's a sign of how busy Wednesday night was in college hoops: Virginia lost to Florida State for its first three-game losing streak in three years; Rutgers beat Indiana and inched closer to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1991; potential No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards went off for 26 points as Georgia routed Tennessee; Markus Howard scored 35 points for Marquette in a 20-point win over Xavier; two more top-25 teams went down with Creighton losing at Georgetown and Wichita State falling at Temple.

And none of those games were among the three big takeaways from Wednesday night.

So let's get to those.

3 things from Wednesday

Alabama ends Auburn's undefeated season

And then there was one: San Diego State is the last remaining unbeaten team in college basketball.

Auburn lost its first game of the season on Wednesday night, falling at Alabama 83-64. The Tigers seemed out of sorts all night, trailing from the opening tip and never leading. They cut the deficit to one possession on a couple of occasions early in the second half, but Alabama never let Auburn get over the hump and pulled away in the final 10 minutes for a double-digit win.

It was an ugly night for Auburn. Leading scorer Samir Doughty turned the ball over seven times and finished with six points on 11 shots, star freshman Isaac Okoro scored one point in the second half, the Tigers turned it over 21 times and shot 7-for-28 from 3-point range.

This loss will raise questions for Bruce Pearl's team. Though Auburn won its first 15 games of the season, the Tigers didn't notch any signature wins. Their best victories were over NC State and Mississippi State, neither of which is a definite NCAA tournament team. The Tigers will need to bounce back on Saturday at Florida.

For Alabama, it was important to close out a big game. The Crimson Tide hung with Kentucky, took Florida to overtime and had a one-possession game against Penn State -- and lost all three. The Crimson Tide have talent and are better than their 9-7 record. Kira Lewis was terrific Wednesday.

Seton Hall wins at Butler, is atop the Big East

Myles Powell and Seton Hall on Wednesday had one of the more impressive conference wins of anyone in the country, going into Indianapolis and overcoming a 10-point halftime deficit to hand Butler its first loss in a month. The Pirates were absolutely elite on the defensive end in the second half, holding the Bulldogs to just three made shots in the final 12 minutes. Powell and backcourt mate Quincy McKnight carried the load offensively, with Powell scoring 29 points and burying five 3-pointers and McKnight dishing out 13 assists.

But one of the keys in the comeback was the inside play of Romaro Gill. The 7-foot-2 senior has become a major factor for Seton Hall over the past two weeks. Gill had 17 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocks Wednesday before fouling out -- his fourth straight game with double figures in points, a threshold he had reached one time in his first 47 games at Seton Hall.

Seton Hall is as tough, mature and experienced as any team in the country and the Pirates have begun to show that over the past few weeks. They've rattled off seven wins in a row and are 5-0 in the Big East.

Butler, meanwhile, suffered only its second loss of the season.

Kentucky blows 14-point lead at South Carolina

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Kentucky ties the score at one end, but South Carolina's Jermaine Couisnard banks in a 3-pointer at the horn to lift the Gamecocks.

The bank was open for Jermaine Couisnard! The South Carolina guard banked in a 3 at the buzzer to give the Gamecocks an 81-78 win over No. 10 Kentucky. For the first 30 minutes or so Wednesday, things were comfortable for Kentucky. The Wildcats led by as many as 14 and seemed to be cruising to another win. But John Calipari's team suddenly fell apart at both ends. Kentucky made only two of its final 10 shots, turned the ball over 15 times and allowed South Carolina to score 56 second-half points.

Kentucky has now suffered losses to Evansville, Utah and South Carolina this season, along with the neutral-court defeat to Ohio State. The Wildcats have figured out some things over the past month, getting consistent production from Nick Richards on the inside and Immanuel Quickley on the perimeter (Quickley, in particular, was terrific Wednesday). But they're still too inconsistent, not only from a game-to-game perspective, but also half to half and sometimes possession to possession.

There's enough talent here, at both ends of the floor, to make a Final Four run. And Calipari generally gets his teams playing their best basketball in March, but the Wildcats will have to bring it more consistently than they have so far this season.

3 things for Thursday

Arizona looks to break out of slump

Just over a month ago, Arizona was 9-0 and looking like a potential top-10 team. Since then, the Wildcats have lost five of seven and are coming off a 17-point loss at Oregon State. After Thursday, Arizona hosts Colorado then heads on the road to face Arizona State and Washington. So the Wildcats can't afford another loss on Thursday, with Utah in town. The Utes have struggled since beating Kentucky, but with wins also over Minnesota and BYU, they've shown an ability to get big victories.

Nico Mannion needs to find his shot for Sean Miller's team. The potential lottery pick point guard hasn't hit multiple 3-pointers in a game since Dec. 11 and is 5-for-27 from beyond the arc in Arizona's past five games. His performance from 3-point range is a microcosm of how the team has shot the ball lately; Arizona has shot above 30% from 3 once since the Dec. 11 win over Nebraska Omaha. The Wildcats are 26-for-101 from 3 in the team's five losses.

Washington needs a point guard

Mike Hopkins' Huskies are tied for last place in the Pac-12 after starting 1-3 in conference play and losing four of their past five games. Their issues were magnified when starting point guard Quade Green was ruled academically ineligible last week. Since then, Hopkins has looked for an answer at the point. Backup point guard Elijah Hardy moved into the starting lineup against Stanford, but then played only 14 minutes and was barely seen in the second half against California. Freshman Marcus Tsohonis got his first minutes since November against the Golden Bears. But for most of the second half, the Huskies rolled with a bigger lineup and put 6-foot-6 forward Jamal Bey at the point. Nothing has truly worked so far. But Washington has to figure things out quickly if it wants to turn its season around and make the NCAA tournament.

AAC pecking order

Wichita State could be the cream of the crop in the American this season, but the Shockers lost to Temple on Wednesday and either way, it's a fairly wide-open league. The five teams at the top of the standings all exited Wednesday with one loss. Thursday should help decide some of the debate, as Memphis hosts Cincinnati. The Tigers lost two in a row before winning at South Florida last weekend, and Cincinnati has started 3-1 in conference play after a 7-5 effort in nonconference games. I'm interested to see if Penny Hardaway further adjusts his starting lineup. He moved Alex Lomax into the starting five last game, but sophomore Tyler Harris continues to produce off the bench. He has scored 17 points in back-to-back games.

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