Sidelines with John Clay

Liveblog: Alabama 77, Kentucky 75

Jemarl Baker thrilled to be playing

Kentucky basketball guard Jemarl Baker talks about his return to the court after missing his first year and a half with knee injuries. The redshirt freshman has scored nine points in four games. UK opens SEC play Saturday at Alabama.
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Kentucky basketball guard Jemarl Baker talks about his return to the court after missing his first year and a half with knee injuries. The redshirt freshman has scored nine points in four games. UK opens SEC play Saturday at Alabama.

After wins over Utah, North Carolina and Louisville, John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats open SEC play on Saturday against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Coleman Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. ESPN has the television coverage.

We will be courtside with scores, updates and analysis. Scroll down for a dedicated Twitter feed.

Final: Alabama 77, Kentucky 75

Tyler Herro missed a three at the buzzer and Bama holds on for win.

Final box

Alabama 76-73 with 15.9 left

Will come down to Alabama making free throws.

Alabama 72-66 with 1:13 left

Crimson Tide not a pillar of strength so far in this final stretch. Every possession shakier than the one before.

Alabama 72-64 with 2:15 left

Keldon Johnson buries a three from the right wing and Calipari asks for time. Alabama led by as many as 11, 72-61 with 3:12 left.

Alabama up 68-61 with 3:44 left

Cats are 6-of-21 from the floor this half. Alabama stretched lead to 10 points at 68-58. Points in paint: Alabama 28-26.

This will be a good test for young Kentucky team in its first conference game down the stretch -- its first conference road game down the stretch. Can the Cats find a way to pull this out?

Kentucky having trouble scoring now

Alabama has extended lead to 59-53 with 7:55 left. UK has scored just two points since the 13:33 mark. Mack now up to 22 points for Crimson Tide after a rebound basket. Cats are 5-of-19 from the floor this half for 26.3 percent.

Alabama 54, Kentucky 53 with 10:27 left

Tough afternoon for Tyler Herro. After scoring 24 points to earn MVP honors in the win over Louisville, the freshman is three-of-eight from the floor, including one-of-three from three-point range as Cats trail by one at the midway point of second half. UK is just 5-of-15 from the floor this half. Alabama is 7-of-17.

Just when you thought Bama’s John Petty was totally out of control, the sophomore blocked a Reid Travis shot and scored at the other end. Meanwhile, Tevin Mack has yet to score this half after pouring in 20 in the first half.

Alabama up 48-47 with 15:20 left in the game

Tevin Mack finally missed a three-pointer. That’s the big news. The Bama guard had made six straight before finally failing to connect. Meanwhile, UK was called for three offensive fouls in the first 1:55 of the second half. This, after Calipari’s Cats were called for three team fouls the entire first half. On strength of three-pointers by Lewis and Ingram, and two dunks by Jones, Bama up one at the TV time.

Halftime: Kentucky 40, Alabama 38

Tevin Mack’s 20 points for the Tide not enough to put Alabama on top at intermission. Kentucky shot 50 percent the first 20 minutes. Bama shot 48.4 percent. Reid Travis leads UK with 10 points. Ashton Hagans and Keldon Johnson with 8 points each.

Mack was seven-of-nine from the floor, including a sizzling six-of-six from three-point land. Mack sat out last year after transferring from Texas.

Kentucky-Alabama halftime box

Tevin Mack is on fire

The transfer from Texas has 17 points and Alabama has a 32-29 lead on Kentucky with 3:49 left in the first half. Mack is 6-of-7 from the floor and 5-of-5 from three-point range. The Tide is on an 8-0 run.

Kentucky 27-22 with 7:56 left in 1H

Bama on a scoring drought of 4:16.

Kentucky up 23-21 with 10:47 left in 1H

Correction from first TV timeout. A Mack three was ruled a two so score was 15-15. (Now back to a three after replay.) UK now up by two. Immanuel Quickley just hit a three from the top of the key to put the Cats back in front.

Alabama 16-15 with 14:56 left in 1H

Not much defense so far. Lots of offense. Tevin Mack, transfer from Texas, has scored eight points for the Crimson Tide. Reid Travis with six points for Kentucky. Cats have made seven of nine shots. Tide has made seven of 10. UK is 10-of-17 from the floor. Alabama is nine-of-15. Cats winning the battle of the boards 10-4.

Officials

Officials for Kentucky-Alabama are Doug Shows, Chuck Jones and Brian Shey.

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