HOOPS: Alabama Drops to No. 16 Despite Routing Hurricanes
No.16 Alabama moves to 6-1 after dropping the first game of the ESPN Events Invitational to Iona, 72-68. The Crimson Tide won the final two games of the tournament, bashing Miami in the last game 96-64, and now look forward to a matchup with the No.1 Gonzaga Bulldogs on Saturday.
"It would have been nice to beat Iona and get in the championship game, but sometimes you have to take a loss to learn from stuff," said Alabama coach Nate Oats.
"We're continuing to see improvement and that's what we want to see at this point."
In a rematch game from Alabama's first round of its 2021 NCAA tournament run, the Iona Gaels were able to beat the then No. 10 ranked Crimson Tide on Thanksgiving Day. In the loss, junior guard Jaden Shackelford recorded his second double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
The Crimson Tide bounced back against the Drake Bulldogs on Friday with an 80-71 win to move to 5-1. Sophomore forward Juwan Gary earn his first start of the season and used the opportunity to record the second double-double of his Alabama career with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
"We didn't shoot free throws well again. We didn't shoot it well from three again," Oats said after the win.
"We turned it over too much, yet we still found a way to get a nine-point win against a quality team. I thought defensively for large stretches of the game, we were pretty good and we played the right way on offense."
Nate Oats and the Tide came into form on Sunday with a 96-64 handling of the Miami Hurricanes. True freshman guard JD Davison won the first hard hat of his career at The Capstone and led Alabama in minutes as a bench player. Davison continued to show flashes of his elite athleticism and ended the game with 16 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds.
Alabama will get the week to rest before making a trip to Seattle, Washington for a matchup with the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs in primetime on Saturday, December 4. Alabama basketball fans will be able to catch the game on ESPN 2 at 7:00 p.m. CT.
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