Alabama Basketball: Crimson Tide tops hot Stephen F. Austin team

(Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images) /

Alabama basketball evened its record at 4-4 with a Friday night win over the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks. A win over a team that beat Duke in Cameron is big for the Tide.

Some SEC basketball fans don’t give roundball much notice until the conference season begins. For Alabama basketball fans with the same pattern of interest, the Tide’s Friday night game may have gone unnoticed.

SEC basketball fans generally don’t think much of teams from the Southland Conference. Followers of Alabama basketball history know better. Back in 1983, the Lamar Cardinals blew the Crimson Tide out of Houston in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Tide went into the game heavily favored and lost by 23 points, 73-50.

It was not a NCAA Tournament game, but Stephen F. Austin (SFA) did something even more stunning last week. The Lumberjacks traveled to Durham, N.C. and played Duke in Cameron Indoor Arena. Duke was ranked No. 1. Stephen F. Austin won in overtime.

What the Lumberjacks did in Durham, could not be done in Tuscaloosa. Neither team had much success for the first 10 minutes. Both teams shot just 25 percent, while SFA led 14-13. Shooting picked up for both teams and at the half, the Tide had shot 39 percent and SFA, 33 percent. The Crimson Tide led 32-31. The Crimson Tide was typically struggling with turnovers. SFA went into the game leading the nation at forcing opponents into 26, ball-handling errors per game. The Tide had 11 in the first half and was getting beaten on the boards, 21-15.

The Alabama Crimson Tide pulled away in the second half. Alabama basketball coach, Nate Oats stressed defense and rebounding during the halftime break. It paid off for the Tide. Shooting also improved for the Crimson Tide in the second half. The Tide finished with 45 percent field goal shooting, including 34 percent from outside the arc. It also got to the foul line, finishing the game with 14 more free throw attempts than the Lumberjacks.

The leading scorer for Alabama basketball was Jaden Shackelford with 17 points, boosted by 7-for-10 from the foul line. Shackelford struggled outside the arc, making only 1-for-6. He added five rebounds and two assists.

The Tide had balanced scoring with Kira Lewis Jr. and Alex Reese each scoring 15 points. John Petty Jr. had 14 points and Javian Davis contributed 11 points. The Crimson Tide lost the rebound battle by five boards. The final score was Alabama basketball, 78 – SFA 68.

Next. Roster moves for 2020 Tide football. dark

The Crimson Tide has four more games in December. On Dec. 14, the Tide travels to State College to play Penn State. The remaining December schedule is Samford in Birmingham (Dec. 18), Belmont in Huntsville (Dec. 21) and Richmond in Tuscaloosa on Dec. 29. The Tide’s SEC schedule begins on the road at Florida on Jan. 4.