Former Alabama/Nate Oats assistant Bryan Hodgson returned to Coleman Coliseum Monday as head coach of the Arkansas State Red Wolves. He and his team left Tuscaloosa with an 89-65 loss to his former employer.

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Said Oats: "Solid win for us. We've been emphaszing defense. It was decent first half. We're making improvements on that side of the ball.

"It was good to have Bryan back. He's trying to get his guys to play fast. They knew all our play calls and we knew all their play calls."

Added Hodgson: "For [Oats] to schedule me in year one means a lot. Got a lot great memories here.

"In my mind, Nate's the best offensive mind in the country.

" They hit 13 three's. I think Alabama will be really, really good. The fan base has got to give this group a little time. When some of those guys figure it out on both ends of the floor, they'll be good enough to win the SEC again.

"Although we fell short, I thought me team grew tonight. I thought our guys competed for 40 minutes."

Bama had five men score in double figures.

The first half saw Grant Nelson and Mark Sears each score 10 as Bama built a 49-28 lead after 20 minutes. The Tide led for 18:31 of those 20 minutes. Nelson left the game early with a lower leg injury. He's expected to return this weekend, as is suspended center Nick Pringle.

Despite a sloppy start, Alabama had a 23-7 halftime lead in points off turnovers.

Then, this happened:

Ethan won a $250 Full Moon BBQ gift card.

The Tide is now 6-2 and was led in scoring by Sears and freshman Jarin Stevenson with 13 each. They were joined in double digits by Nelson and Mo Wague with 12 each, while Aaron Estrada added 11 points.

Bama won the battle of the backboards 45-49, led by the seven rebounds of Wague.

Next: a Murderer's Row, Amen Corner, or whatever you'd like to call it. Alabama's next three games are against the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 teams in the NET. One is a road game (Creighton) and two are neutral site (Arizona in Phoenix; Purdue in Toronto).

Bama faces Purdue at 12:30 p.m. CT Saturday and you can listen on Tide 100.9, 95.3 The Bear and 1230 AM WTBC.

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Alabama Basketball All-Time Scoring Leaders



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