Alabama Basketball: Nate Oats used 12 Tide players in opening win

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Basketball: Nate Oats went deep into his bench as the Tide opened the season with a 24-point win.

Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats was pleased with Wednesday night’s win and some components of how his team played. For an opener, with a rash of new players and a lead guard who had played little competitive basketball for two seasons, the results were good.

The Alabama Crimson Tide played down a level or two in talent against an OVC team that won 13 games last season. The Crimson Tide has an influx of new players. Jacksonville State has more, with 11 new players on the Gamecocks’ roster for the 2020-21 season.

The Crimson Tide did not shoot the ball well. Overall shooting was 39 percent, lowered by 3pt. shooting of only 23 percent. While Alabama basketball won the rebounding battle, 55-49, the Tide gave up 20 offensive rebounds to Jax State.

Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackelford each scored 18 points to lead the Crimson Tide. John Petty Jr., who was only 2-for-8 outside the arc, added 14 points. Herbert Jones had a team-high 12 rebounds, along with 12 points. Shackelford, who battled for boards throughout, finished with 11 rebounds.

Jacksonville shot the ball worse than the Crimson Tide as the Tide defense did a good job of challenging shots throughout the game. The Tide defense also forced 20 Jax State turnovers.

An aggressive Crimson Tide got to the rim frequently, though, except for Quinerly and Shackelford, finishing was inconsistent. Even with some difficulty finishing, the Crimson Tide got 42 points in the paint.

As reported by Roger Hoover, Nate Oats said after the game,

"Little sluggish to be honest with you. We’ll get through it. We missed some shots, we have to have some defense turn into offense. Pace hasn’t been as fast as I’d like either.We missed a lot of open shots we usually make, layups we usually make. I thought our defense was pretty good in the second half. All in all I thought our effort was good."

Speaking of the team’s effort, according to Oats, the Tide had its highest ‘blue-collar’ points since he has been in Tuscaloosa. While the shooting touch and pace of play did not match Oats’ expectations, he was pleased with the defense.

"Way better than last year. Huge point of emphasis for us in the spring and summer. We’ve been on them. Our personnel allows us to be better with more length and athleticism."

Eleven Alabama basketball players were expected to see action against Jacksonville. With the surprise medical clearance of Juwan Gary, the number was 12. Nine of the 12 entered the game in the first six minutes of play. Eight of the 12 Tide players saw 16, or more, minutes of action.

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The improved Crimson Tide defense will be challenged on Monday in the Maui Classic. The opening game is against Stanford, a team as determined to have high-tempo as the Crimson Tide.