Alabama basketball opened its season with a 75-54 win over Longwood University.
Alabama defended well all game, holding Longwood to 26 percent shooting from the floor and blocking nine shots. The Crimson Tide also dominated on the glass, out rebounding their opponent by a 69-41 margin. Alabama capitalized on its massive size and athleticism advantages, but did not always play well.
The Tide looked sloppy at times, committing 19 turnovers and dishing out just 10 assists. Additionally, Nate Oats’ team put on a horrendous shooting display, going 3-28 from the three-point line. Alabama basketball fans were alarmed when the team shot just 14 percent on triples in its preseason scrimmage against Southern Illinois. The Crimson Tide somehow managed to beat this anemic effort in the season opener, shooting 10.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Bad shooting metrics are very uncharacteristic of a Nate Oats-coached team, and such poor displays in back-to-back outings suggest that this may not be an anomaly. It is way too early to call it a trend, but Bama fans should keep an eye on this squad’s shooting.
Alabama Basketball: Newcomers steal the show
The Tide deployed a balanced attack and finished with four double-figure scorers. Impressively, it also had four double-figure rebounders. As expected, Alabama basketball was led by freshmen and transfers.
Brandon Miller posted a double-double in his first collegiate game, posting game-highs of 14 points and 13 rebounds. Transfer point guard Mark Sears had a rough day shooting and turned the ball over five times, but found other ways to have a positive impact. He rebounded well and got to the free throw line often, finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.
Freshmen Jaden Bradley and Rylan Griffen both joined Miller, scoring in double figures in their first game for the Crimson Tide. Griffen poured in 14 points, while Bradley had 11 points and six rebounds.
Sophomore Charles Bediako and freshman Noah Clowney were dominant forces in the paint. Their length overwhelmed the undersized Lancers all night. Bediako contributed eight points, 12 rebounds, two blocks, and three steals. Clowney had nine points, 11 rebounds, and a pair of blocks in his Alabama debut. JUCO transfer Nick Pringle asserted himself as well, notching three blocks.
This team has plenty to work on, but this 21-point win was a good start. As Alabama basketball continues to mesh and shore up its weaknesses, the shooting percentages should improve and the turnovers should go down.
The strengths that Alabama exhibited tonight were defense, rebounding, and effort. This is a good sign because these things travel and can easily be reproduced. When this team starts making shots, they will be dangerous.