Alabama Basketball: Miller, Clowney and boards propel Tide to Final


Against Missouri Saturday afternoon, Alabama Basketball proved the Tide has more than one way to win. Teams that shoot a high number of threes are not supposed to win when their guards are ice-cold from outside the arc.

In Bridgestone Arena on Saturday, Jahvon Quinerly, Mark Sears and Rylan Griffen were a combined 1-for-14 from outside the arc. Also harming the Tide’s offensive efforts were 17 turnovers in the game. Against a good team and Missouri is that; those two data points should have led to a Crimson Tide loss.

Instead, Alabama won by 11, 72-61. The Alabama Crimson Tide overcame its weaknesses for three reasons. One was the combined offensive production of the Tide’s two sensational freshmen. Brandon Miller with 20 and Noah Clowney with 19, scored 39 points, over half of the Tide’s points. Combined the pair was 15-for-22 on field goals, including a combined 6-for-12 outside the arc. Miller also contributed four assists.

The second reason Alabama won was rebounding. The Crimson Tide outrebounded the Tigers, 44-28. The Tide’s leading rebounder was Brandon Miller with 12. Noah Gurley and Charles Bediako pulled down five boards each.

Nate Oats provided the best game summary, saying after the game,

"If you’re going to win a tournament, you’ve got to find different ways to win. We’ve said that, and we found a way to win."

The Alabama Basketball Head Coach provided an elaboration,

"Our defense at the rim, they finished 13 of 27 at the rim. We were 19 of 23 at the rim."

Nate Oats also reiterated his strategy of never putting clamps on cold Crimson Tide perimeter shooters, saying,

"We keep telling our guys we’re never going to pass up an open three."

For Alabama Basketball, Nate Oats made the right calls

For much of Saturday’s game, that strategy appeared to be a mistake. But the third reason Alabama won was Nate Oats. He lit into his players numerous times during the Missouri game, challenging them to be mentally and physically tougher. Oats’ demands for toughness worked with the Tigers shooting just 31.4% in the second half.

The Tide had to turn up the defense a notch in the second half, but Alabama did well defensively the entire game. According to Ken Pomeroy, Missouri is the ninth-best Division 1 team in offensive efficiency. The Crimson Tide held them to 61 points and 34% shooting for the game.

dark. Next. Alabama Crimson Tide in the NCAA Tournament

After the game, Missouri coach Dennis Gates praised the Crimson Tide, saying Alabama deserves the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Gates has gained praise for what Missouri has accomplished this season. From a team that won just 12 games last season, the Tigers are now a team any opponent should fear in the Big Dance.