By: Garrett Franks
TUSCALOOSA, Ala.– The Crimson Tide spoil the Memphis Tigers’ six-game winning streak, as Alabama defeated the Tigers 91-88 in Coleman Coliseum.
In the first match of the home-and-home series last year against the Tigers, the Tide loss 92-78 after their emotional win versus Houston.
“This is a better Memphis team than last year,” said Alabama Head Coach Nate Oats.
This year it was much different.
Similar to last year, Alabama did beat Houston in a big game the week before. But this year – there was not “let down” game from Alabama.
Memphis came into the game just outside the AP top-25. The Tigers were riding high after a nine-point “quad one” victory over the then undefeated Auburn Tigers in Neville Arena 82-73.
Before the game, Alabama announced that second-year guard Nimari Burnett is out for the next six to eight weeks with a wrist injury.
First-year guard Jaden Bradley was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time this season.
The first half was a high-octane game full of physicality and hard fouls.
“It was a really scrappy game – I have blood all over me,” Said Brandon Miller. “Memphis is always going to be a scrappy team, that’s just how coach Penny [Hardaway] preaches to his team.”
The Tide struggled to hit shots in the first half. They finished the half shooting a mere 28.6 percent from behind the arch. The story didn’t get much better with free throws. At half, they made only 57.1 percent of their shots at the charity stripe.
“You make some you miss some, you gotta stay in the game mentally,” said Brandon Miller.
Still they had a 36-33 advantage over the Memphis Tigers.
Much of that had to do with the stellar defense from Tide. Guard Mark Sears was also cooking from the field, he had 12 points at half.
Memphis struggled as well, shooting only 35 percent from the field. In stark opposition of Alabama, the Tigers only shot two first half threes compared to the Tide’s 14.
Alabama roared back in the second half thanks to Miller. After a tough first half, where he only scored three points off of four shots, Miller turned it on in the second half. Miller scored 21 points in the second half, hitting four threes on his way to leading the Tide in scoring. Miller also was active on the glass grabbing eight rebounds alongside his five assist.
“We came together as a team at half,” said Miller. “We got good players around me, so it’s good to feed off them.”
Much like Miller, Memphis’ Kendric Davis had an explosive second half. Davis scored 22 of his 30 points in the second half, including a perfect six of six from the charity stripe.
Noah Clowney followed up a strong double-double performance against Houston with an excellent game against Memphis. Clowney won the “hard hat award” with 11 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks.
While Sears only scored six points in the second half, he finished with 18 total points. He was also very active defensively, snatching two balls from the opposition.
The Tide were far from perfect but made the shots and defensive stops that mattered. Oats echoed a very similar sentiment after the game.
“Guys got to understand – we’re going to get everybody’s best shot,” said Oats. “This was not one of our better performances but we got the job down.”
The Tide move to 9-1 overall on the season. With the win over Memphis, Alabama secure their third “quad one” victory of the season. They’re now tied third with Wisconsin and Kansas for “quad one” victories.
Alabama returns to the hardwood on December 17th in Birmingham against 15th ranked Gonzaga at 12 a.m. CT.