By Jackson DiLullo
TUSCALOOSA, AL – The Crimson Tide snapped a 3-game losing streak on Jan. 19, outlasting the #13 LSU Tigers 70-67. Jaden Shackelford led Alabama in the scoring department with 26 points, his 2 assists led the team as well. Keon Ellis’ 8 rebounds led the team on the glass.
J.D. Davidson notched his first start of the season at point guard after then-starter, Jahvon Quinerly, volunteered to lead the second unit. Quinerly scored 17 in his 31 minutes off the bench, while J.D. managed 4 points in his 18 minutes of play.
Alabama shot a porous 20.6% from deep and 34.4% from the field overall. In what became one of the Tide’s better defensive performances, shooters seemed uncomfortable from beyond the arc, but showed flashes of brilliance when operating their offense from the low post. Most notably, Noah Gurley was able to find a wide-open Keon Ellis in the corner with a perfect pass from the elbow.
The Crimson Tide was able to put together long and efficient scoring runs when driving and kicking out of the painted area, but too often settled for poor looks from three. The near-criminal underutilization of 7-foot freshman – the Tide’s only 7-footer – Charles Bediako particularly stood out.
In the Tide’s last six games, all of which came against SEC opponents, they sport a 3-3 record. In those six contests, Bediako averages just 16 minutes as a starter. While his stat-lines rarely jump off the screen, his height is essential to the Tide’s ability to defend the paint.
Alabama found success when they were committed to playing inside-out. Their focus should be on re-establishing their confidence from deep and improving the quality of their post offense against two of the SEC’s bottom feeders. The Tide will face Missouri (8-9) on Jan. 22 at Coleman Coliseum, and Georgia (5-13) in Athens on the 25th.