The Alabama basketball team took 6 and 1⁄2 games to show us what we've been expecting since day one. After a listless start, a 13-0 run to close the first half gave the Tide a 33-30 half time lead that was forged on a Jahvon Quinerly three pointer at the buzzer. The second half showed a full display of Nate Oats basketball and Bama won going away by a score of 96-64. Alabama improved to 6-1 on the season while Miami fell to 4-3.
JD Davison was given a larger role in the first half—playing 16 minutes— and made his presence known with eight points, three rebounds, and two assists by constantly getting into the lane and finishing. The Tide was shooting 40% on 13-32 with only 2-12 from deep in the first frame. Miami hit 11-27 for 40% and only 1-8 from deep in the first half.
In the second half, the Tide became the team that was ranked number 10 in the nation at the start of the weekend. A three pointer from Jaden Shackelford and an emphatic dunk from Charles “Angry Chuck” Bediako helped push the Tide to a 40-30 lead with 18:33, and the onslaught was on. Keon Ellis hit a three point shot and then had an old fashioned three point play followed by a soaring Davison rebound and follow for a 50-38 lead with 14 minutes left.
Shackelford and Ellis then seemingly traded three point makes over the next few minutes as the lead built to 30 points. Davison, not known for his outside shooting, made a three pointer from the corner and Jusaun Holt and Britton Johnson threw in three pointers of the own to close things out.
After two and half games of subpar three point shooting, the Tide blistered the nets in the second half to the tune of 14-18, finishing the night at 53% on 16-30 makes. Bama hit 37-69 overall for 53% but still had problems at the free throw line at 6-11. The team dominated on the boards, grabbing 42 rebounds, had 22 assists to 13 turnovers, four steals, and three blocks. The Hurricanes shot 23-50 for 46% including 4-17 from three and hit 14-20 free throws. Miami finished with 23 rebounds, had six assists, eight steals, two blocks and thirteen turnovers.
Ellis led the way offensively, finally getting more aggressive, hitting 8-11 field goals with 5-6 from deep to score 22 points. The senior added four rebounds, two assists, and fantastic defense. His plus/minus was 20. Shackelford hit 5-9 from deep and finished with 15 points. Juwan Gary continued to show his worth and had 13 points and five rebounds. Davison came into his own with a double-double, 13 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, and only three turnovers. Bediako finished with five points and eight rebounds.
What a statement game for the Tide.
Ball movement, tough hard nosed, defense, shooting and making three point shots at will showed what this team is capable of. Davison is showing that he needs to be on the floor as much as possible. His court vision and passing ability are next level. The freshman needs to work on his outside shooting and continue to cut down on his turnovers, but he is showing the look of the first round talent that he is touted to be. Ellis had a quite first two games in Orlando but showed his versatility and shooting touch on Sunday. Gary is such a key piece for this team with his blue collar work ethic and ability to make things happen. Quinerly wasn't at his best this weekend, but we have all seen what he can do. Shackelford is a walking basket and Bediako and Darius Miles are improving each week.
The Tide plays next on Saturday, December 4th in Seattle against (formally) number one Gonzaga at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN 2. The team will need to replicate todays second half against the NCAA runner-up from last season. The game will over lap with the SEC Championship game but switch over to it as soon as possible!
Roll Tide Roll