Alabama Basketball upends top-ranked Houston

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama basketball gritted out another win over the number-one team in the country on Saturday afternoon. This time, it traveled into the home arena of the Houston Cougars and left with a 71-65 victory.

The Tide fell behind by as much as 15 in the second half, but matched Houston’s toughness from the jump and eventually fought back.

Much like in Alabama’s win over North Carolina earlier in the season, star freshman Brandon Miller struggled. Once again, the Tide proved they could beat an elite team without an overwhelming performance from Miller. The phenom never made a field goal in the game, finishing with just eight points that all came from the free throw line.

All-SEC guard Jahvon Quinerly also struggled. Quinerly went 1-6 from the field, finishing with just four points. He also committed four turnovers and failed to record an assist. Few thought Alabama could go into the Fertitta Center and win this game. Against all odds, it was able to pull out the victory despite subpar performances from its two best players.

Alabama Basketball freshmen step up

Alabama basketball was paced instead by another freshman in Noah Clowney. The springy forward finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks. He was also able to display his versatility, being a force in the paint on both ends of the court and connecting on two three-pointers.

Freshman point guard Jaden Bradley was also critical in Alabama’s comeback effort. Bradley finished with 12 points, five rebounds, four assists, and zero turnovers amidst constant pressure and a hostile environment. On a day when Alabama turned the ball over 15 times, Bradley’s steadiness was refreshing.

Guards Mark Sears (11 points), Nimari Burnett (8 points), and Rylan Griffen (6 points) all hit big shots for the Crimson Tide. The trio combined to hit five of Alabama’s seven made three-point shots.

Coach Nate Oats knew his team had a lot of talent, but today they showed an extra edge. On multiple occasions, the Tide took Houston’s best punch, gathered itself, and threw a haymaker right back. The intangibles it showed in this game are more impressive and far more valuable than a hot shooting day.

Next. Bama Football looks to finish strong in recruiting. dark

There is no apparent ceiling on how good this Alabama basketball team can be, and fans would like to believe the team hasn’t peaked in early December. For a Crimson Tide team that was ranked in the top-20 to begin the season, it may be time to recalibrate expectations.