Alabama came home after a demoralizing loss at Memphis on Tuesday, looking to get rid of some of that bad taste against Jacksonville State. They ultimately got it done, but it wasn’t pretty.
The first half was uglier than grandma’s curtains. The Tide scored only 29 points, the lowest total for any half of the season. Keon Ellis had 14 at the break, and to be frank he was the only thing keeping the Tide in the game. The starting backcourt of Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackelford, often lauded as among the best in the nation, combined for four points with three of them coming on a Quinerly buzzer beater. The defense really wasn’t all that great either, but the Tide somehow managed to take a skinny one point lead into the break at 29-28.
It was more of the same to open the second half, as neither team could create any space on the scoreboard. Thankfully, talent eventually won out. A 18-2 run staked the Tide to a 14 point lead with just under six minutes to play, and the Tide managed to keep the Gamecocks at bay for the rest of the night. The Tide eschewed the three point shot almost entirely for the run, getting to the rim time after time for easy baskets, mostly by Quinerly. Jacksonville State wouldn’t go away, battling back to within five with under a minute to play, but it was mercifully too little too late. Had the Tide played all night like they did for the one eight minute stretch, this one could have been a laugher.
Alas, they did not. The main concern for this team is the mental aspect. When three point shots aren’t falling, they seem to press a bit and end up making mistakes on both ends of the court. The offensive rebounds continue to be a problem as well. This is either a fixable issue or something that they will have to live with and shoot well enough to make up for it. Time will tell.
They have shown us both their ceiling and their floor multiple times now. Hopefully the former shows up more often.
A win is a win, as they say. Nate will have plenty for his team to chew on ahead of Tuesday’s tilt with Davidson.