No. 18 Alabama subdues South Alabama in gritty road performance


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama forward Noah Clowney (15) looks to drive past his defender in the Crimson Tide’s 65-55 victory over the South Alabama Jaguars on Nov. 15 at the Mitchell Center in Mobile, Ala.

Mathey Gibson, Staff Reporter

On Tuesday night, No. 18 Alabama defeated the University of South Alabama 65-55 after an up-and-down showing which saw the Crimson Tide hold yet another opponent under 60 points. 

Once again, freshman sensation Brandon Miller led the way for Alabama (3-0) with 19 points (5-15 FG, 4-9 3PT), eight rebounds and three assists. 

The Antioch, Tennessee, native continues to prove why he’s a projected lottery pick in the 2023 NBA draft, displaying his court vision, silky-smooth jump shot and defensive versatility against the Jaguars (1-2). 

Fellow freshman forward Noah Clowney impressed once more — grabbing 15 rebounds and finishing the night with eight points. 

The 6-foot-10 player from Roebuck, South Carolina has been a force to be reckoned with on the glass, averaging 10.6 rebounds through the first three contests. A former four-star and top-100 recruit, Clowney continues his expectation-exceeding arrival to Tuscaloosa. 

It was a tough night for guards Mark Sears and Rylan Griffen, who combined for a 4-for-16 on field goals and a 2-for-8 3-point performance against South Alabama’s lengthy defense. They weren’t the only ones to struggle, though, seeing as the Crimson Tide shot 32% from the floor and 29% from three with 20 turnovers. 

“Offensively, we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “We’re not anywhere close to where we need to be. But defensively, I’ve got to give our guys a lot of credit.” 

While Oats’ offense wasn’t exactly clicking, the Crimson Tide defense impressed for a third straight game — showing off its length and versatility while holding the Jaguars to a 21-for-71 FG, 2-for-23 3-point performance from the floor. Once again, Alabama controlled the glass, holding a massive 63-40 rebounding advantage. 

Last year, a massive criticism of Alabama’s roster was a lack of effort and intensity on both sides of the ball. Through three games, some of those demons appear to have been exorcised. 

“Our length this year is very much like our Sweet 16 team,” guard Jahvon Quinerly said. “Long guys all over the court. I think this group is willing to learn a little bit better than last year’s group. Guys just willing to take the constructive criticism from a coach or teammate.” 

Perhaps the biggest story of the night was the return of Quinerly himself. 

Merely seven and a half months post-operation, the senior point guard returned to action for the first time since his devastating ACL tear against Notre Dame in March — playing four minutes and shooting 0-for-2 from the floor while grabbing a single rebound. 

“We were hoping to get him back by Michigan State, but he kept pushing the envelope in practice,” Oats said. “He’ll be on a minutes restriction for the next couple of weeks.” 

For the former SEC Tournament MVP, his return was a long-awaited sigh of relief. 

“It means the world, man. It’s a great feeling,” Quinerly said. “These guys, they’re my family. Good feeling.” 

With tonight’s victory, the Crimson Tide will look to defend its new No. 18 national ranking with a Friday night matchup in Tuscaloosa against the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks on Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. CT on the SEC Network. 

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