The Alabama Crimson Tide returned from their first road game of the season to host Furman Tuesday night in Coleman Coliseum, and took an 81-73 victory over the previously unbeaten Paladins. Freshman Jaden Shackelford led the way with 25 points while sophomore Kira Lewis added 19. Jordan Lyons of Furman led all scorers with 33 points, and kept the visitors from Greenville, South Carolina in the game. The game was the first of the Battle 4 Atlantis, which will reconvene in the Bahamas next week.
The short roster of the Tide took another hit, as grad-transfer Beetle Bolden was in street clothes with a cast on his injured wrist. The wrist has been an issue for over a year for Bolden. Although Alex Reese started the game, his minutes were limited by his balky hip that has hindered him all season. Javian Davis, Herbert Jones, John Petty, and Lewis completed the starting five. Galin Smith has also been among the walking wounded, and was taken into the locker room with seven minutes left in the first stanza. After having his bad thumb rewrapped he returned to the bench and did return to action.
The majority of the first half was back and forth, with neither team able to pull out to a commanding lead. Shackelford came off the bench and heated up, hitting three shots from behind the three point line.
The Tide held a 34-31 halftime advantage, fueled by 14 points from Shackelford and nine from Petty. Bama shot 12-24 from the field, including 5-13 from deep, and was 5-9 from the free throw line. The Paladins were a miserable 10-30 from the field, 3-15 from three point range, and 8-13 from the free throw line. Thirteen turnovers kept the Tide from building a bigger lead, considering the discrepancy in shooting statistics. Bama’s leading scorer on the year, Lewis, did not attempt a shot until around six minutes were left in the half, and scored only two first half points.
Bama came out after the break and seemed to be in control, building a six point lead. However Lyons, who had two points at halftime, heated up in a hurry hitting two straight three pointers to push Furman to a 45-42 lead, and never stopped shooting. Lewis turned it on for the Tide, and along with Shackelford, carried the Tide for the majority of the half.
With the scored tied 50-50, and after some questionable (what’s new?) calls by the officials, Coach Nate Oats was hit with a technical foul. Lyons made both free throws, but the 54-52 advantage was the last the visitors would enjoy in the game. Petty hit a three and the Tide built their lead. Free throw shooting (!!) down the stretch carried the Tide. Lyons kept firing and occasionally hitting to keep Furman within range, but it was not enough. Bama improved to 2-0 in games which Oats has received a technical foul.
Lyons finished with 33 points on 7-21 shooting, including 6-16 from long range, and added 13-13 from the free throw line. Furman was 11-38 (field goals), 8-26 (three point range) and 12-13 from the free throw line in the second half. The Tide was over 50% at 15-29, 2-8 from deep, and 15-18 from the free throw line in the second half. Overall Furman was 21-68 from the field, including a miserable 11-41 from three point range and 20-26 from the charity stripe. The Tide finished 27-53, 7-21 from deep, and 20-27 from the stripe.
Alabama collected 42 rebounds, 11 assists, six blocks, seven steals, and their usual 21 turnovers. Furman had 34 rebounds, 12 assists, four blocks, 12 steals, and 11 turnovers. Shackelford was the big gun for the Tide with 25 points, five rebounds, three steals, one assist, and one turnover. Lewis finished with 19 points, led the team with seven rebounds, three assists, but had seven turnovers. Petty added 16 points with five rebounds and two assists. Davis continued his strong early season play with 10 points and five boards. Jones added eight points and six rebounds and led the team with four assists. Lyons was joined in double figures by Clay Mouncie with 13 points for Furman.
Furman might not be a “big” name, but they are a good team. The loss dropped them to 20-3 in their last 23 out of conference games. Last year they lost to LSU and Tennessee, and beat all their other OOC opponents. The Tide played the frantic pace to start the game, and could not hold on to the ball, tallying 10 turnovers in the first seven minutes. They “slowed” down a bit, and took better care of the basketball thereafter. With limited available players, and others that are prone to foul - Jones and Smith in particular - Oats might have to tweak his patented style a bit. Eight healthy bodies will be hard pressed to keep the frantic pace for 40 minutes per night.
The Tide will be off for several days, before meeting blueblood North Carolina on November 27th at 1:30 p.m. CT, in Paradise Island, Bahamas. The game will be on either ESPN or ESPN2. On Thanksgiving Day, the team will take on either Michigan or Iowa State. On Black Friday, they will play a team and time TBD. It will be a tall task to win any games in the Bahamas, but that’s why they play the games.
Roll Tide Roll
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