Alabama Basketball: Don’t count out the Crimson Tide yet

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama basketball spotted South Carolina a 12-1 lead then fought and fought and fought its way to a must victory Saturday night.

Admit it Alabama basketball fans. At a 12-1 deficit after four minutes and 20 seconds of play, the chances of a Tide comeback looked slim. Even after Tide shooters made some baskets, the spread grew to 20-8 at the 12:50 mark of the first half.

If Nate Oats and his Alabama basketball team had doubts, none were apparent. What was clear was Oats’ displeasure with the officiating. He got his money’s worth out of a technical foul while being restrained by assistant Bryan Hodgson. Draw your own conclusion but the facts are the Tide ended up shooting 47 free throws to 26 for South Carolina.

After the game, Charlie Potter spoke with a more relaxed Nate Oats,

"I thought this was a game that would reveal a lot about our character. I thought it did, especially with the way we started. … I thought our guys fought back, fought back and showed a lot of resiliency.Really proud of all the guys and their efforts, and this puts us in a great spot going into the last week of the regular season."

Kira Lewis was pumped by his coach’s fire.

There was much for which Nate Oats to be proud. After getting down 20-8, the Crimson Tide scored 82 points in 32 minutes and seven seconds of play. That was 16 points more than the Gamecocks. Frank Martin’s team plays tough, smart and physical defense. They are also good at forcing turnovers. In a game that was also a must-win for South Carolina, Alabama basketball was the tougher team. The 90 points and five rebound advantage, with only 11 turnovers were back-stopped by the Tide’s own defensive effort.

Individually, Kira Lewis Jr., Javian Davis, Jaden Shackelford and Herbert Jones were tremendous. Alex Reese did not shoot well but his 10 rebounds were huge. Beetle Bolden added only seven points and an assist, but they were big points at times of need.

Javian Davis had a career game, scoring 20 points, making 11-of-15 free throws and pulling down 10 rebounds. Kira Lewis was a never-quit, never back-down leader with 25 points and six assists. Jaden Shackelford added 18 points and seven rebounds. Herbert Jones was an Iron Man, playing 40 minutes, with 10 points and nine rebounds. Any All-Defensive team in college basketball without Herbert Jones on it is a joke.

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Now, 16-13 on the season, the Crimson Tide finishes with Vandy at home on Tuesday, followed by Missouri on the road on Saturday. Both are must-wins. John Petty might return for Vandy and is certainly expected to play against Missouri.