Alabama took a much needed win and claimed seventh place in the eight team Battle 4 Atlantis on Friday night. The Crimson Tide defeated Southern Miss 83-68, led by James “Beetle” Bolden’s career night. Bolden, has been battling a wrist injury since last season, but Friday night scored 23 points by hitting 6-8 shots from three point range.
The Tide started out hot, grabbing a commanding 20-4 lead early in the game. With the Eagles trailing 30-12 with about 10 minutes left in the first half, Bama went cold. Meanwhile, USM heated up and cut the Bama lead to only 38-35 at the break.
Alabama shot 12-30 from the field in the first half, including 7-22 from three point range, and was 7-11 from the free throw line. The Tide finished the half making only two of their final 16 shots. Southern was 13-27 from the field and a dismal 1-9 from three point range, and 8-12 from the charity stripe.
At the beginning of the second half, USM kept it close for the first five minutes or so, getting as close as 42-40 before the Tide stretched things out. Bolden got hot with offensive help from Kira Lewis to keep the Eagles at bay. Jaylen Forbes added a three pointer from the corner for the second game in a row, and the Tide was off and running, building the lead to as much as 21 points, before settling for the 15 point win.
Alabama shot out of their minds in the second half, 16-22 (73%) from the field, including 8-11 (73) from three point range. The one issue was the easiest of shots, the free throw, which they only hit 5-11. Southern Miss did shoot 50% in the second half at 13-26, and made 2-3 three points, and 5-8 free throws. For the game, the Tide ended up at 28-52 (54%), with 15-33 (46%) from deep and an awful 12-22 (55%) from the free throw line. Southern Miss finished at 49% on 26-53 shutting and only 25%, 3-12, from deep, and 13-20 from the free throw line.
The rebounding battle was even at 31 each, the Tide had 16 assists, 15 turnovers, one block, and seven steals. The Eagles had 11 assists, 16 turnovers, two blocks, and 10 steals (mostly on careless Bama passes.)
BAMA PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Bolden led the way with 23 points, two rebounds and two assists, but fouled out for the third time this season. Lewis had 20 points on 7-11 shooting (4-7 from deep), and had two rebounds and three assists, but also five turnovers.
John Petty had a solid game, after two spectacular ones, with 10 points, a team-high eight rebounds, with two assists and only one turnover. Herbert Jones contributed seven points and six rebounds while Javian Davis and Jaden Shackelford matched with six points and four rebounds each. Shackelford led the team with four assists.
This was a much needed win, over a very bad Southern Miss team. The Golden Eagles (2-6) have yet to beat a Division One team this season. The Crimson Tide (3-4) needs to find a way to beat the teams they are suppose to and they have a small margin of error with their schedule. Early on when the shots were falling and the ball was moving, there was a glimpse of things to come. The 2-16 stretch with several turnovers, however, was also a glimpse of what we have seen a good deal of so far, and will see until the system is ingrained in the players (whether it is this group, or several new ones.) Bolden played his best the last two games, and perhaps his wrist is getting healthy enough to help Lewis and Petty with consistent scoring.
The Tide suits up again on Friday December 6th, when they host Stephen F. Austin at 7 p.m. CT in Coleman. The Lumberjacks (5-1) defeated No. 1 Duke at Cameron Indoor on Tuesday, so they are a formidable opponent. The game will be available only on the SEC Network Plus App, and local radio.
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