Alabama basketball coach, Nate Oats used fewer players in the win over UNLV as Tide moves forward in Maui Classic.
For Alabama basketball, Tuesday’s recipe was the same as Monday night. But, Alabama Crimson Tide, head coach, Nate Oats used fewer ingredients in the win over UNLV.
Going into the season it was believed a deep bench might be Oats’ strongest weapon. The Tide bench is deep with more talent in support roles than has been available for many seasons. A scorching pace of play is what Oats seeks, making a bench full of fresh talent important.
In the season-opening win over Jacksonville State, Oats used nine players in the game’s first six minutes. Twelve Tiders played against the Gamecocks. The number was 13 on Monday night in the one-sided loss to Stanford. The Crimson Tide was outshot, out-rebounded and out-hustled by Stanford in the 82-64 loss.
To Nate Oats and Alabama basketball fans, the result was inexcusable. Only four of the Tide’s 64 points came from second-chance baskets. Some perspective is warranted. Stanford is a quality opponent that could be an NCAA Tournament team this season. The Cardinal lost a very close game to North Carolina on Tuesday.
As the season progresses the Alabama basketball team will have numerous opponents as good as and better than Stanford. With a performance matching the Stanford game, the Crimson Tide will not compete for an NCAA berth this season.
Nate Oats needed a quick change and he made a decisive one. Oats went with only eight players against the Running Rebels. Three of the eight, Jordan Bruner, Jadon Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly played 26-30 minutes. John Petty Jr. played 33 minutes and Herbert Jones put in 35 minutes. In support, freshman Josh Primo got 17 minutes, followed by 16 minutes from James Rojas and 15 minutes from Alex Reese.
John Petty Jr. led the Tide in scoring with 22 points, followed by Quinerly with 19, and Jones with 18 points. Led by seven rebounds by Jordan Bruner, the Tide almost matched UNLV on the boards. Alex Reese contributed five rebounds. There was only slight improvement in second-chance points but finishing at the rim was improved, leading to 28 points in the paint.
On Oats’ post-game Zoom call, Oats said,
"Our big thing was we just needed to play harder. I thought some of our guys are figuring out how hard they have to play a Division I basketball game to get a win.A lot of good efforts out of our guys.Primo showed a lot more of what he’s capable of doing. I was really happy with minutes Primo gave us, he’ll get more minutes if he plays like that."
Oats might have also used JUCO transfer, Keon Ellis but he was not available. Oats was clear his illness is not COVID related and Ellis is expected to make a quick recovery.
Providence beat Davidson 63-62 on Tuesday. The Crimson Tide will meet the Friars at 6:00 PM CST, on Wednesday. The Crimson Tide will look to reach 3-1 on the season.