By Jackson DiLullo
TUSCALOOSA, AL – The Alabama Crimson Tide played one of their best games of the season on Jan. 29 and toppled the No. 4 Baylor Bears 87-78. The upset victory improves Alabama’s record to 14-7 on the season.
Jahvon Quinerly found his way back into the starting lineup after leading the second unit for three games. He led the team in scoring with 20, his second such game of the year. Close behind was Jaden Shackelford who added 19 of his own, he also led the team in rebounding with 9. J.D. Davison, Quinerly and Shackelford were all tied for the lead in assists with 5.
The Crimson Tide posted some of their best shooting splits of the season against Baylor; they shot 59.2% from the field, 33.3% from three and 84.6% from the free throw line. They benefitted from incredibly efficient games from Quinerly (20; 6-10), Juwan Gary (15; 7-8) and Davison (14; 6-9). The three shot a collective 70.4% from the field.
Alabama was committed to winning on every possession, evidenced by their constant hustle for loose balls and their determination in the paint.
“I gave them three F’s before the game,” said Alabama head coach Nate Oats. “I said we need to be focused, we need to fly around, play with energy, and let’s have fun. I thought we were pretty focused for most of the game, we flew around, and we had a lot of fun.”
The team’s commitment paid off; Alabama led Baylor in total rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. The Tide also forced 16 turnovers to Baylor’s 15.
Alabama’s fans, and subsequent home-court advantage, played a massive role in the upset. Jaden Shackelford spoke on how the support at home factored into the Tide’s upset: “It was unbelievable… We try to go out there and play our hardest and obviously having them behind us is big for us to win games at home; we have some really, really great fans.”
The Alabama Crimson Tide took care of business against No. 4 Baylor; the Tide now turn their attention to No. 1 Auburn. A game with massive AP-Poll implications, the Crimson Tide will travel to Auburn Arena to face the No. 1 Auburn Tigers on Feb. 1. Tipoff is set for 8:00 p.m. CST.