Alabama basketball showed some maturity Saturday night when it defeated the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. The Crimson Tide defeated the Jackrabbits 78-65 at Coleman Coliseum and went 7-1 that season.
The game was essentially divided into three separate acts. The first act saw Alabama’s basketball race to a 20-point lead in the first 15 minutes of the game. In act two, the lead evaporated just as quickly as SDSU pulled off an extended run that spanned both halves. To the shock of Alabama fans, the Crimson Tide found themselves behind midway through the second half.
Ultimately, this brief period of adversity was just another opportunity for Bama to prove his maturity once again. The Crimson Tide recovered from the error in a crucial third act, hitting the gas again and running away from South Dakota State for a 13-point win.
Alabama basketball hit 13 three-pointers in the game and recorded 20 assists with 27 baskets made.
Once again, the freshman class pushed the team to victory. Forward Noah Clowney was recovering from injury and it was uncertain if he would even play in the game. Clowney played and was arguably the best player on the floor. He started the game with a barrage of three-pointers and finished with game-highs of 22 points and nine rebounds. The big man added a career-high four assists.
Brandon Miller, a newly minted forward, added 16 points and nine rebounds. Miller is one of the top scorers in the country, but he has demonstrated the ability to morph into any role Alabama basketball demands of him in order to win the game at hand.
Junior guard Mark Sears was away from the three-point line for the second straight game, throwing in 19 points for the home team.
Backcourt colleague Jahvon Quinerly had a day off shooting and failed to score in the game. The veteran guard found other ways to influence the competition as he notched five rebounds and dished out seven assists with just one turnover. Sophomore center Charles Bediako was a force in color. The big finished with four points, six rebounds and five blocked shots.
Alabama basketball will have more opportunities to show maturity and consistency as its stacked schedule quickly finds itself in trouble again. Alabama is entering a rough patch starting with a road trip to play the top-ranked Houston Cougars next weekend. This game should be a heavyweight fight and after that there will be no rest for the Tide as the gauntlet continues with games against Memphis and Gonzaga.
This off-conference schedule gives Alabama ample opportunity to grow, develop, and learn. More importantly, there are plenty of opportunities for the Tide to take Q1 wins. Alabama has so far responded well to such challenges.