Tide Avoids 4-Game Skid, Beats LSU 70-67
The Crimson Tide entered Wednesday night in a must-win scenario in order to get the season back on track. After dropping three straight SEC matchups to Missouri, Auburn and Mississippi State, Nate Oats challenged his team to play with more toughness and physicality against the LSU Tigers.
In a winning effort, Alabama did just that, outperforming the Tigers on both the offensive and defensive glass, and beating them while playing down to their pace. Alabama's offense struggled, going 0-for-15 in the second half from three, but the defensive intensity was evident and picked up the slack for a lacking offensive performance.
Junior guard Jahvon Quinerly returned to his previous role from a season ago of sixth man and was excellent in his "new" role, finishing the game with 17 points, three rebounds and an assist. Freshman sensation J.D. Davison got the start in Quinerly's place but struggled to create shots for his teammates and himself, scoring just four points and picking up a single assist.
The Tide's leading scorer was Jaden Shackelford who exploded in the first half, scoring nine of Alabama's first 15 points, and finished the game with an incredible 26 points, four rebounds and two assists.
As for the big men for Bama, Juwan Gary exited the matchup around halfway through the first half with a facial injury and did not return. Coach Nate Oats provided an update on the sophomore forward following the game, saying, "I guess the X-ray machine on campus was unable to give us what we needed, so they are going to get one in the morning at the doctor's office and we'll know more tomorrow."
In seven minutes, Gary picked up just two boards and a block, leaving the combination of Charles Bediako, Noah Gurley and Darius Miles to take his place. The three-headed combo of versatile big men for Alabama played well defensively against the Tigers, but were unable to find much success scoring the basketball, finishing the game with just 11 points combined.
Quinerly spoke on his team's toughness and resilience following the win, saying, "I think we did a good job and responded the right way. It's something that we've just got to keep reminding our guys. That we've got to play physical," the junior guard continued, "A lot of people say 'protect home court', but I think we need to be the first to attack."
Alabama improves to 12-6 (3-3) with their win over LSU and will face off against Missouri and Georgia before taking on the fifth ranked Baylor Bears in the 2022 Big 12/SEC Challenge on January 29th.