Alabama Basketball got a big win Saturday night in Seattle, WA. It was technically not a road game, since Gonzaga is located in Spokane, WA about 275 miles to the east of the Emerald City. Direct from a Crimson Tide fan in attendance, the new arena was packed to its 18,000 capacity with full-throated Zags’ fans.
Nate Oats’ Alabama basketball team beat the No. 3 team in the nation 91-82, in what was virtually a road game. Before the game, the same fan asked if beating the Zags would be the Crimson Tide’s biggest win ever. He could not be faulted for not knowing it would not be.
Beating the Zags in Washington state is a huge milestone for the Crimson Tide program. The Spun titled the Tide upset a shock to the college basketball world. The Crimson Tide led 51-35 at halftime, threatening to run the Zags out of Seattle’s shining new arena. The Crimson Tide’s first-half scoring onslaught was powered by 20 points from Jaden Shackelford. Shack missed one shot in the opening half, including 6-for-7 from outside the arc. He also had six rebounds and an assist.
Mark Few adjusted the Gonzaga defense to run Shack off the line in the second half. The change worked but Jaden added eight more points in the second period. J.D. Davison, who had eight first-half points, added 12 more after the break. To go along with his scoring, Davison finished the game with five rebounds, three assists and a steal. Most encouraging to Crimson Tide fans was the freshman making 4-of-6 three-point shots. The Crimson Tide’s other guard Saturday night, Jahvon Quinerly added 17 points, six assists and a steal.
The Zags had a small edge, outshooting the Tide from the floor, though Alabama Basketball put up five more shot attempts. At the line, the Crimson Tide was a solid 73 percent, compared to Gonzaga at 52 percent.
Alabama Basketball Ranking Improves
After the game, KenPom moved the Tide to No. 9 in the nation. The Zags, despite losses to Duke and the Crimson Tide, remained No. 1 in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings.
Getting back to the ‘best-ever’ Alabama Basketball regular-season upset requires a deep dive into Tide roundball records. It was Jan. 28, 1983, when an unranked Crimson Tide team traveled to Los Angeles to play No. 1 ranked, UCLA in Pauley Pavilion. The Crimson Tide won 70-67, led by Bobby Lee Hurt’s 23 points. That Wimp Sanderson team was loaded with Hurt, Ennis Whatley, Mike Davis, Terry Willaims and Buck Johnson. As good as the ’83 team was, it lost 10 SEC games that season.
Note: 1983 stats provided by sports-reference.com
Saturday was a great day for the Alabama Crimson Tide. As one tweet stated, it is “hard to find a better duo than Nick Saban and Nate Oats.”