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Victory thread: Alabama wins tough battle over Memphis

Alabama 91, Memphis 88

NCAA Basketball: Memphis at Alabama Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a huge win at Houston on Saturday, Alabama had to face another tough test as Memphis came to town. Fortunately the Tide was up to the challenge.

It was evident early in the contest that this would be a physical affair. The Tigers are aggressive on defense, which worked out well for them for the most part but also piled up a few fouls. It was the kind of game that Nimari Burnett would have thrived in but, sadly, it was announced before the game that he will be out for a while after undergoing wrist surgery. The Tide didn’t shoot it particularly well from either the field or the line, but took a 36-33 lead into the half thanks to 12 points from Mark Sears and some fine defense of their own.

Alabama mostly maintained control in the second half, though the game was close throughout. After a quiet first half, Brandon Miller found his stroke to toss in 21 of his 24 points to lead the Tide. Miller filled up the box score in this one, adding eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks.

After Memphis big Deandre Williams fouled out, SMU transfer guard Kendric Davis did everything in his power to will the Tigers to victory, and it very nearly worked. Davis scored 30 points before going down with an ankle injury in the last minute. The Tigers rallied furiously, but in the end the Tide held on.

If Memphis isn’t ranked after this week, something is terribly wrong. That’s a solid basketball team. Still, Alabama’s perimeter defense simply didn’t look the same without Burnett in the game. Hopefully a lot of that had to do with the quality of the Memphis guards, but it’s certainly something to monitor.

In the end, Alabama moves to 9-1.

Roll Tide.