Alabama Basketball: Crimson Tide got what it needed in Maui Classic


With a closing win over Providence, Nate Oats’ Alabama basketball team gained what it needed from the Maui Classic.

After Monday night’s wakeup call provided by Stanford, Alabama basketball is back on track for a promising season. Nate Oats did not take the Crimson Tide to Asheville, NC to finish fifth in the eight-team field. He and his players were looking for a signature win they did not get. What they did get on Wednesday night was a resume-building win.

Providence was the preseason pick to be the No. 3 team in the Big East. The Big East does not have the clout it did in the 80s and 90s when John Thompson Jr. led his Georgetown Hoyas to NCAA Tournament after tournament. But the conference is no mid-major either. Beating one of the league’s top teams is always a boost for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Alabama basketball has more immediate issues than worrying about an NCAA bid. Nate Oats has a bunch of talent. He and his players must learn how to best utilize that talent. Oats went deep into his bench Monday night and lost. He did the opposite Tuesday night and won. Wednesday night was closer to Tuesday with eight players getting double-digit minutes before Oats coasted to the end with his subs.

Six Crimson Tide players saw the majority of game action against Providence. Herbert Jones got 33 minutes, followed by Jaden Shackelford with 29, John Petty Jr. with 28, Josh Primo with 24, Jahvon Quinerly with 22 minutes and Jordan Bruner with 21. Other than late-game duty, only three more Crimson Tide players contributed meaningful minutes. Alex Reese got 17 minutes, James Rojas 10 and Keon Ellis had nine minutes. For now and the foreseeable future those nine players are the Crimson Tide rotation. Juwan Gary and Keon Ambrose-Hylton will have an opportunity to work into a rotation. In a short stint  Wednesday, a defensive play by Gary impressed Oats.

Five Crimson Tide players scored in double-figures, led by John Petty Jr with 16 and followed by Jaden Shackelford and Josh Primo with 15 points each. Herbert Jones added 11 points and Jahvon Quinerly scored 10.

The Alabama basketball team hit the boards Wednesday night, dominating the glass, 48-28. Herbert Jones had eight rebounds and Jordan Bruner had seven boards.

In comments after the game, Nate Oats said,

"I thought our effort was a lot better. I think we’ve improved a lot over the three days we’ve been here. … There’s three teams that left this deal 2-1, we’re one of the three. I think we’ve played really good basketball the last two nights.If it took a loss to Stanford to get us to where we need to be, then that’s what it is. But I think we’ve got a really good team. I’m looking forward to what we do against Clemson"

Next. Game score predictions for potential Tide CFBP opponents. dark

Alabama basketball fans should be encouraged and one reason why is freshman, Josh Primo. Primo is quickly becoming a solid sixth man for the Tide and he will continue to improve. The young man can play.