Alabama Basketball tested a premise in basketball that contends shooters cannot back down when they are not shooting well. Assuming that premise is accurate, does it apply to all shooters? More on that below after a short review of the stats from the Kentucky game.
The Wildcats shot 40 percent for the game, including 36 percent outside the arc on just 11, three-point attempts. Alabama shot 28 percent for the game, and in fairness to the Tide and acknowledgment to the Cats, the Kentucky defense was superb.
The Tide’s anemic shooting was mostly a result of 10 percent, three-point shooting. Keon Ellis was 2-for-7 and JD Davison was 1-for-3 outside the arc. The rest of the Tide ‘shooters’ were zip, nada, zero – in 27 attempts. That included ten misses by the Tide’s sharpshooters, Jaden Shackelford (7 misses) and Jahvon Quinerly (3 misses).
Charles Bediako with 12 points and eight rebounds led the Crimson Tide. No other Alabama basketball player scored in double digits.
Turnovers were even in the game, though the Tide had more on the unforced kind. Alabama outrebounded the Wildcats, 47-44, but that stat is misleading. Chasing down long rebounds from three-point misses is one of the Tide’s strengths. It had plenty of opportunities to use that skill Saturday night.
Given how poorly the Tide played when it has the ball, it is somewhat surprising the final score was only an 11-point Kentucky victory. Defensively, the Tide battled hard much of the game. Defensive intensity waned some in the second half as the Tide’s scoring woes mounted.
After the game, Nate Oats said,
"I’ll give some of our guys credit. I thought some of them battled and fought."
That is not much of an endorsement of his team from a frustrated Oats. Talking about the lack of production from his guards, Oats said,
"They got to play well for us. If they don’t play well, we can’t win. They have to score the ball. I think they have to get in the gym a little bit."
About the weak three-point shooting, Oats said,
"We’re going to take 3PT, but if people really study how we play this year, we’re scoring way more at the rim. We got the ball to the rim a fair amount, the issue is – we missed those too."
This leads back to the question posed at the top of this post. How long, in Nate Oats’ offensive plan, are certain players allowed to just keep shooting the three-ball? Jahvon Quinerly at 25 percent for the season, needs to shoot his way out of the slump. But do Jusaun Holt at 9.1 percent, James Rojas at 23.1 percent and Juwan Gary at 23.3 percent need to keep jacking up misses? If the answer is yes they do, some Alabama basketball fans want Nate Oats to explain why.