No. 20 Alabama’s length, athleticism stifle Longwood


CW / David Gray

Alabama guard Brandon Miller looks at his opponent in the Crimson Tide’s 75-54 victory over the Longwood Lancers on Nov. 7 at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Mathey Gibson, Staff Reporter

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – On Monday night, Alabama secured its first victory of the season over Longwood University in dominating fashion, 75-54.  

The Crimson Tide outrebounded the Lancers 67-38, controlling the glass throughout the game’s entirety thanks to double-digit rebounding efforts from Brandon Miller (13), Charles Bediako (12), Noah Clowney (11) and Mark Sears (10). 

While Alabama sputtered offensively from 3-point range, shooting an abysmal 10.7% (3-28), the Crimson Tide defense stole the show, holding Longwood to 38.5% from three and 26.8% overall. 

For preseason Big South all-conference nominees DeShaun Wade and Isaiah Wilkins, overcoming Alabama’s length on the perimeter proved to be too daunting of a task, shooting a combined 2-for-14 from the field with three turnovers.  

“Great defensive game to start the year out; I thought our defense was much improved,” head coach Nate Oats said. “I think you can tell we’ll be much improved defensively this year.”  

With an average height of 78.5 inches, No. 12 nationally according to KenPom, the Crimson Tide roster is chock-full of length and versatility on the defensive end.  

“I’m not going to play guys if they’re not going to guard,” Oats said. “I think the guys realized that.” 

After trailing 34-26 at halftime, the Lancers never once got it back below double figures after the 17-minute mark in the second half.  

“Our defense was good enough to force that many misses to get 67 rebounds,” Oats said. “We’ve got more length and athleticism than we did a year ago. … I think you’re going to see our defense is markedly improved this year as a huge point of emphasis.” 

The players have taken note of their own defensive prowess internally, too, even going as far as identifying individual players. 

“We’ve got Brandon Miller in the starting lineup,” guard Rylan Griffen said. “That’s enough.” 

The Crimson Tide will now turn its attention towards a Friday, Nov. 11, matchup with preseason ASUN title favorite Liberty University in Tuscaloosa. 

Tipoff from Coleman Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. CT on SEC Network+. 

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]