Alabama Basketball: Something new against Ole Miss and it worked

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

Against Ole Miss Wednesday night, Alabama Basketball scorched the nets from deep and it paid off with a 97-83 win. The Crimson Tide only took 22, 3-point shots, but it made 14 of them. The resulting 63.6 percent shooting from outside the arc was the Tide’s best of the season.

Nate Oats was quick to say, “I think the law of averages may have helped us out tonight.” Yes, Crimson Tide shooters were due, after taking 30 threes in the loss to Kentucky and making only three.

But there was more to the performance than averages. The Tide’s spacing, ball movement and distribution were excellent. The shooting was great but so was much of the passing that combined to produce 23 assists.

Nate Oats tried something different with his lineup. Little-used freshman, Jusaun Holt played 26 minutes. He was one of five guards that played 24 or more minutes in the game. Holt only scored 2 points, but he had six rebounds and three assists. He was active on both ends of the court and consistently made good decisions.

The Tide’s four other guards combined for 70 points, 14 rebounds and 18 assists. Their individual stats are highlighted below, but the four, along with Holt, were outstanding as a group.

The Tide’s main ‘big’ was 6’8″ Noah Gurley who played 17 minutes. Gurley had 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

The rotation worked wonderfully against Ole Miss. Can it do the same against Arkansas? Nate oats will have to answer that question but the Razorbacks are a bit more physically challenging than the Rebels.

Speaking after the game about Jusaun Holt’s play, Nate Oats said,

"He gave us some quality minutes. I thought he played well on defense. He flew around. We were plus-22 in the 26 minutes he played in the game."

The strategy was more than the Tide just shooting its way out of a slump. As Oats explained,

"I think at this point, we keep encouraging them, be positive, great job. I thought they played for each other."

Almost as important as playing for each other, the Crimson Tide played hard throughout. Though the game was not a must-win for the NCAA Tournament, it was a ‘must’ for regaining confidence in themselves and each other.

Speaking about the challenge Arkansas will bring on Saturday, Oats was quick to add the defense must be better to beat the Razorbacks.

Alabama Basketball Player Highlights

  • Jaden Shackelford – 30 points; 8-of-13 from outside the arc; 5 rebounds
  • Jahvon Quinerly – 9 points; 8 assists; 2 rebounds
  • Keon Ellis – 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting; 4 rebounds; 2 assists
  • Jusaun Holt – 2 points; 6 rebounds; 3 assists
  • JD Davison – 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting; 3 rebounds; eight assists
  • Noah Gurley – 10 points; seven rebounds; 2 blocks

Next. Crimson Tide NCAA Tournament History. dark

After Wednesday’s games, the Crimson Tide is in a three-way tie for seventh in the SEC standings. The Tide is one game back from fifth place.