By: Peyton Davis
TUSCALOOSA — The Alabama Crimson Tide opened the 2022 season in Coleman Coliseum against the Longwood Lancers on Monday night.
There was a buzz in the building early on that the team fed off of throughout the first half with their effort and hustle. Star freshman forward Brandon Miller was the driving force on that end showing his athletic ability. His effort led to over 16 minutes of first half play.
However, shots did not fall at an efficient clip in the first half shooting 1-13 from three point range as well as 12 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
There were a lot of new faces for the tide, and the lack of chemistry and in-game experience showed especially in the first half.
The second half had a lot of the same trends as the first, but the team began to find fluidity and chemistry through the pick and roll late in the game. Thunderous finishes by Miller along with center Charles Bediako sparked a ton of enthusiasm off the bench.
The outside shooting and turnovers, however continued to be a problem (3-28 from three for the game and 19 turnovers); but the team did not let this sway their effort on the defensive end holding the Lancers to 19/71 from the field (26.7%).
After a 36-28 first half, the Crimson Tide blew the game open en route to a 75-54 victory over Longwood.
Despite the shooting woes and careless mistakes, Coach Oats was ecstatic about the team’s “blue collar” effort defensively and on the glass.
“I thought they competed, despite turnovers, missed threes, and all of that stuff, I thought from a competition side we got out there and played hard,” said Oats. “Sometimes when a guy’s offense goes bad they quit playing hard—we didn’t have much of that tonight.”
The team already bested their season high of rebounds from the 2021 season (52) grabbing 67 total boards for the night, which is a testament to the teams new look with extreme length on all levels of the roster.
As far as the early offensive struggles, Brandon Miller wasn’t discouraged by the team’s performance from deep.
“I think it’s just about getting in the gym the next day and getting up shots, you make some you miss some,” said Miller.
Alabama will be back in Coleman on Friday night at 7pm, taking on the 1-0 Liberty Flames.