By: Garrett Franks
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Crimson Tide roll onto a strong 84-62 victory in their conference home opener against the Ole Miss Rebels.
While the Tide came out slow to start the first, their defense stepped up in a big way. led by rotational forward Noah Gurley, the Tide only allowed 23 first half points the Rebels.
While the defense was on point, it didn’t take long for the shots to start falling for Alabama. The tide drilled 5/8 in the first half, compared to Ole Miss who shot a mere 2/15 from behind the arch in the first.
Nine of those first half points came from first-year Guard Mark Sears. Being one of two transfers into the program this season, Sears has quickly become one of the most lethal shooters in the SEC. Sears Finished the game as the second leading scorer with 16 points. He averages 14.5 points per game, while dishing out 2.8 assist per game.
Freshman Star Brandon Miller got out to a slow start offensively, only scoring eight first half points. While his first half was nothing to to ride-home about, his highlight alley-oop will sure be in SportsCenter Top Ten contention.
The second half could only be summed up in one word: physical. As both teams committed a combined 10 team fouls in the first five minutes of the second half. The Tide’s shoots didn’t fall at the first half rate, but the defense once again showed up. Alabama once again naturalized Ole Miss’ three-point game as the Rebels couldn’t buy a bucket behind the arch in the second half. The Tide also struggled to put three’s in the bottom of the net in the second half as well, only converting 4/12 from three.
It was Jaden Bradley who was the star of the offense in the second half, finishing with 14 points. Ten of those points came from the charity stripe.
In a twist that will surprise no one, Brandon Miller led all scorers with 17 points. three of those points came off an improbable 50-foot three pointer as time on the shot clock expired.
“I don’t practice those,” said Miller. “I think some just fall at times.”
Guard Dom Welch in only his second game back from injury, is already looking like a solid rotational player for the Tide. While he still looks to be on a minute restriction, he shows a strong defensive presence with his six-foot-five frame. While Welch has yet to score in his two appearances on the floor, he provides a much needed defensive boast off the bench.
A quick dive into the statistics you can quickly see where the Tide on this game – that being the turnover department. Alabama committed a season low seven turnovers throughout the game.
Guard Jahvon Quinerly, who led the team in turnovers this season didn’t commit one against the Rebels. Bradley spoke after the game about how that showed buy-in from everyone on the team.
Head Coach Nate Oats, was complimentary of his team ability to take care of the ball.
“We’re trying to eliminate carless turnovers, driving into tight gaps, stepping out of bounds, and moving screens,” Said Oats. “We didn’t have many live ball turnovers, which is good–at least they didn’t score off the ones we did commit.”
Alabama welcomes the Kentucky Wildcats (10-4) to Coleman Coliseum on Saturday at 12:00 p.m.