Stink-stank-stunk. The Crimson Tide didn't do anything well on Monday night against the Stanford Cardinal in their first game of the Maui Classic, dropping the game 82-64.
Bama kept the same starting five from last weeks opening win: Herbert Jones, John Petty, Jaden Shackelford, Jahvon Quinerly, and Jordan Bruner. The Tide had 12-10 lead with about 15 minutes left in the half after Alex Reese came off the bench, hit a three and scored down low right off the bat. Jones, Shackelford, and Quinerly all had two fouls with several minutes left in the half and Stanford stretched out the lead from 29-25 with 5:41 left to 41-29 at the break.
Alabama was 3-15 from deep at the half, Petty failed to score, and three starters had three fouls. The Tide was out-shot in the frame 44% to 36% from the field and 60% to 20% from deep, and were out rebounded 34-24.
Bama got a little run going with about 16 minutes left in the game and cut the lead to 47-40. Unfortunately everything from there on was downhill. Inability to make layups, mid range shots, and three point shots, combined with turnovers and what looked like lack of effort afforded the Cardinal a 10-0 run and the game was essentially over at that point. The 49-42 deficit grew to 71-48 around the six minute mark. The last few minutes was just a mash up of both teams running up and down the court and missing shots and fouling each other, and just general malaise.
The Tide ended up a terrible 24-67 for 36%, including an awful 7-29 (24%) from three point range. To add insult to injury the team was only 12-28 on LAYUPS. Free throw shooting remains bad, at 9-15 for 60%. Stanford shot over 50% with 31-60, and over 50% from deep, though they were only 12-19 from the free throw stripe. Stanford dominated the boards 47-31. Alabama had only 10 assists, committed 15 turnovers, blocked five shots, and grabbed 10 steals. Stanford finished with 15 assists, 22 turnovers, five blocks, and eight steals.
Coach Nate Oats played nine guys double digit minutes in the game, led by Petty’s 29 minutes. Quinerly logged 24 minutes, Shackelford 23, Jones 21, Bruner and Rojas 20 each. Quinerly led the team with 14 points on 6-11 shooting and added two assists and three steals with three turnovers. Shackelford was the only other player in double figures with 10 on 3-13 shooting, but hit 2-5 from deep. Jones had eight points, all in the first half, and four rebounds, with five turnovers. Bruner also had eight points, and Petty had seven points and a team leading six rebounds. Reese finished with five points and five rebounds. The clear star of the game was Stanford freshman Ziaire Williams, a former high school teammate of Bronny James, who is considered a lottery pick in next years NBA draft. Williams dazzled with 19 points and eight rebounds.
It is early and there are a ton of new players, but Oats is going to have to figure out a rotation that works. Depth is a good thing, but it is hard to get in a flow with so many guys in and out. The best Tide teams under Wimp Sanderson rarely went over six or seven deep. The lack of effort on the boards is going to have to change, a big component of rebounding is want-to, and we haven’t seen much of that in the first two games. Oats said he had no idea why there was a lack of effort, and that the three point shooting the first two games is baffling. According to Oats the team hits shots in practice, but shot selection and forced shots seem to be the culprit in games. The coach also mentioned the lack of exhibition games has hurt the cohesion of the team, but went on to say the Stanford had played anyone until tonight and they got it done.
The Tide will need to figure out something quickly, as the play again tomorrow night. The opponent will be the UNLV Running Rebels, and the game is again at 8:30 CT on ESPN2. The team needs to flush this game and focus on winning Tuesday and Wednesday as the schedule is not going to get any easier.
Tomorrow is another day, and hopefully the Tide will turn.
Roll Tide, Ball and Oats
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