TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Coming off a sloppy win on Tuesday in Mobile, the 3-0 Alabama Crimson Tide looked to stay undefeated, hosting the 1-1 Jacksonville State Gamecocks on Friday night in Coleman Coliseum.
It was a scorching hot start from both the Tide and the Gamecocks especially from the three point line. Both teams had five early makes from deep in the first ten minutes, which had the teams deadlocked early on.
Despite the early test of Jacksonville State’s offense and effort, the Tide had to be encouraged with their shooting early on after an extremely tough night on Tuesday vs South Alabama. Both teams lit up the scoreboard in the first half with a score of 51-39 after the first 20, in what looked at times more like an NBA game then a November college basketball match.
The Tide finished the half shooting 58% from the field and 55% from deep on 12 makes, but still found themselves with a difficult task as the Gamecocks also shot 50% from three with seven makes.
Junior guard Mark Sears led the way in the first half with 16 points and three assists, and he had the pressure as the primary ball handler taken off quite a bit with the return of Senior guard Jahvon Quinery. JQ finished the half with five assists in seven minutes in his first game back at Coleman since tearing his ACL in the NCAA tournament last March.
In the second half, the Tide turned up their energy defensively to counter the Gamecock’s strong shooting performance and the shots continued to fall.
The crowd noise followed as there has been no louder moment of the season so far then when Quinerly hit his second three in a row making the score 70-48 at the 15 minute mark of the half.
From there, the game was taken over by the Tide, and this was almost individually due to the shooting of freshman sensation Brandon Miller. After hitting two threes in the first half, he ripped off five straight in the second five minutes of the half and a whopping 22 points in that span.
After playing such strong defense in the first three games of the year even when the shots weren’t going in, the Tide showed tonight that they can defend and rebound at a high level even when shots are going in, which is exactly what Coach Oats wants to see as the schedule gets tougher.
“We just keep preaching rebounding, as well as we shot it, we still had 19 (offensive) boards and they had 16 defensive boards so we got more of our misses than they got, so I think that speaks to our effort,” he said.
The team shot 52% from the field for the game and 46% from three with a staggering 21 deep range field goals.
“We moved the ball a lot better, and once you do that the shooters are gonna start to make shots,” Mark Sears said.
In the end, on the back of an incredible 53-23 second half, Alabama was able to remain undefeated, beating the Jacksonville State Gamecocks 104-62.
The Crimson Tide will look to continue their strong start to the season next week on Thanksgiving Night in Portland, as they will take on the 3-1 Michigan State Spartans.