Alabama Basketball opens conference play with road win


Alabama basketball opened SEC play with a tough win at no. 21 Mississippi State. With the 78-67 victory, Alabama improves to 11-2 on the season and will remain in the top-10 heading into the new year.

This was an ugly, physical game, particularly in the first half. Still, the Crimson Tide maintained control throughout the contest on the strength of its good shooting. Bama hit 12 threes in the game, connecting at 37.5-percent clip. Wing Brandon Miller and guard Mark Sears combined to hit nine of those triples.

Sears poured in a game-high 20 points along with three assists, hitting the 20-point mark for the third time this season. Alongside him in the backcourt, Jaden Bradley had a rough shooting night but played a decent floor game. The freshman finished with seven points and a game-high seven assists, but turned the ball over four times.

Jahvon Quinerly battled early foul trouble and ultimately played just 11 minutes. Quinerly scored six points, also committing four turnovers in his limited action.

Alabama basketball got solid minutes from its wing rotation. Brandon Miller continues to prove he is one of the best players in the country. Despite a slow start that was also marred by first half foul trouble, Miller finished with a double-double, notching 19 points and 11 rebounds.

St. Bonaventure transfer Dom Welch made his season debut in Starkville. Welch didn’t score, but he saw 10 minutes of action and looks ready to contribute. Welch is a veteran presence who could eventually take minutes from somebody like freshman Rylan Griffen. Griffen has played admirably for the Tide this season after being forced into the lineup due to injuries on the wing.

Alabama’s bigs continued to dominate the paint in this game, led by Noah Clowney’s 12 points and eight rebounds. Charles Bediako fouled out with just four points, but made his presence known on the defensive end, blocking three shots. Reserve big Nick Pringle provided a huge spark off the bench. Pringle is incredibly athletic and he got a chance to show it. The JUCO transfer was all over the rim, scoring 10 points on a highly efficient 4-4 from the field.

This was a good team win for Alabama basketball. The Crimson Tide once again showed that it knows how to navigate adversity. Given that this team is led by freshmen and transfers, this was the first SEC basketball experience for the vast majority of the Alabama players.

The Tide entered a hostile environment, withstood physical play and some questionable officiating, and handled business. When starters were hampered by foul trouble, reserves stepped up and played well. This team really seems to be rounding into form, and is operating at a maturity level beyond its years.

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Alabama basketball will take the court again on January 3rd, when it hosts Ole Miss in Coleman Coliseum.