No. 20 Alabama trounces Liberty in impressive fashion Friday night


CW / David Gray

Alabama guard Brandon Miller (24) gets back on defense in the Crimson Tide’s 95-59 victory over the Liberty Flames on Nov. 11 at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Mathey Gibson, Staff Reporter

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – On Friday night, Alabama defeated the Liberty University Flames 95-59 after a dominating offensive performance which saw the Crimson Tide (2-0) shoot 45% from 3-point land and 51% from the field. 

It was a coming out party for Alabama guard Mark Sears, who followed up his double-double performance against Longwood University with 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists. 

The Muscle Shoals, Alabama, native shined with an array of deep threes and flashed his ability to attack the paint with no fear. While Sears, six-foot, is on the shorter side, the Ohio University transfer made sure his presence was felt defensively, too — helping stifle the Flames’ dynamic backcourt duo of Darius McGhee and Colin Porter.  

Freshman forward Brandon Miller impressed again, dropping 20 points on 5-for-8 shooting and grabbing eight rebounds. The former five-star and projected lottery pick could not be contained by Liberty’s zone defense — forcing them into man-to-man, which led to multiple offensive and defensive mismatches in favor of the Crimson Tide. 

Fellow Freshman guard Jaden Bradley did what he does best — playing calmly under pressure and showing off a variety of layup packages — finishing with nine points on 3-for-5 shooting. 

While center Charles Bediako and freshman forward Noah Clowney couldn’t get going offensively, the frontcourt duo combined to grab 11 boards and blocked four shots — affecting most paint possessions for the Flames (1-1). 

Freshman guard Rylan Griffen won the blue-collar hard hat award — finishing with 16 points on 5-for-9 shooting, flashing with multiple crafty finishes around the rim and hitting two threes. 

It was a rough night Liberty’s McGhee, the country’s leading returning scorer (24.6 ppg in 2021-22), finishing with eight points on 3-for-11 shooting. 

“Shoutout to Nimari [Burnett] and Jaden Bradley for locking him up,” Sears said. “We did a really good job of locking in on him.” 

For Alabama head coach Nate Oats, the Crimson Tide backcourt’s masterful performance could be a recurring theme in Tuscaloosa.  

“We’ve got some guys that can really play,” Oats said. “We wanted more length, versatility, more depth than last year. I think our effort has been good the first two games, and I think it’ll stay really good.”  

The 82nd ranked team in KenPom, Liberty will look to reboot after being dismantled in embarrassing fashion. 

“We’ve got stuff to work on still, but that’s a quality team picked to win the ASUN,” Oats said. “That’s going to be a really good win for us because they’re going to win a lot of games.” 

After a 3-for-28 shooting performance beyond the arc against Longwood, the fourth-year head coach was happy with his squad’s earth-scorching shooting output from deep. 

“I told you I wasn’t concerned with shooting,” Oats said. “It helps to make shots, especially making those threes. We made some tonight. All in all, I thought it was good. We got them on a tough night.” 

With tonight’s victory, the Crimson Tide will look to defend their No. 20 national ranking with a Tuesday night matchup at the University of South Alabama on Nov. 15 at 9 p.m. CT on SEC Network+. 

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