Crimson Tide Hits The Boards, Closes Maui 2-1
The Alabama Crimson Tide showed improvement in key areas to come away with an 88-71 victory over the Providence Friars. Alabama finishes in 5th place in the 2020 Maui Invitational and moves to 3-1 on the season.
Despite an early drought leaving the Tide down 8-0, Alabama spiked an 11-0 run led by senior forward Herb Jones, who capped the run with a momentum infusing alley-oop assist to senior guard John Petty.
The Friars brought heavy-hitter, Nate Watson, into the paint early, as he led his team with nine early points. Though he was dominant at the rim, he wasn't on the glass.
Into half-time, the Crimson Tide held a 26-14 advantage in rebounds, an improvement noted to be a necessity moving forward by head coach Nate Oats after the disappointing loss to Stanford to open the scene in Asheville, North Carolina. Alabama finished the game with a 20-rebound advantage, 48-28.
"I told our guys, 'we're gonna have to outrebound them, we can't get out-rebounded like we did the past two nights,'" Oats said postgame. "I think our guys answered the bell."
Sophomore guard Jaden Shackelford made a monumental presence in the first half with impressive hustle plays. In one instance, Shackelford grabbed two offensive rebounds off of missed three-pointers from Josh Primo and Alex Reese, eventually kicking an assist to Primo beyond the arc.
Near the end of the half, Shackelford made an outstanding effort to keep the ball in play on a defensive rebound, sending it back to Keon Ellis, hustling into transition and finally finding himself open for an easy triple.
Providence started strong with a mid-range attack, but ultimately, Nate Watson wasn't able to put in the minutes required to make up the difference for the Friars. At the 11-minute mark of the second half, the Crimson Tide created an insurmountable 20-point lead and Watson finished with 17 points and three rebounds for Providence before exiting the game when the game got out of hand.
Petty led the Crimson Tide in scoring with 16 points. Though he was just 1-5 from three, Petty was strong at the basket, finishing drives and drawing fouls. Number 23 was a source of momentum, grabbing two dunks, one off the Jones alley-oop, and nearly a third that would have surely made SportsCenter had he not been fouled.
The Crimson Tide finished the night 12-29 (41%) from three, crushing the 29% Oats's squad came into the game with. Primo and Shackelford led Alabama with three three-pointers apiece.
Alabama is scheduled to meet Clemson December 12 in Atlanta for Holiday Hoopsgiving.