Alabama's tough season has fitting end

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - The Crimson Tide was plagued by injuries, mistakes and foul trouble in Tuesday night's overtime loss at Massachusetts in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament.

In some respects, it was a fitting way for Alabama (20-and-12) to end a troubled, and troubling, season that saw plenty of things go wrong.

A leaner by U-Mass's Chris Lowe with one-point-six seconds remaining in overtime ended the Tide's season. Mykal Riley's three-pointer as time ran out in regulation gave Alabama's season what turned out to be a brief reprieve.

The Tide fell short of making the N-C-double-A tournament for the first time in six years, a victim of several embarrassing losses, inconsistent play and sometimes lackluster effort.

In fact, Alabama went from a Number Four national ranking in December to a Number Five N-I-T seed some three months later.

The good news for Alabama is the team is only scheduled to lose one key player, Jermareo Davidson. Davidson also had an up-and-down season while enduring the deaths of his brother and girlfriend. The other four starters return, barring early exits.

Coach Mark Gottfried also added three signees in the fall, point guard Rico Picket, power forward Justin Knox and shooting guard Senario Hillman.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)