No. 18 Alabama blows out Jacksonville State behind near-record breaking offensive showcase


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama guard Mark Sears (1) shoots a 3-pointer in the Crimson Tide’s 104-62 victory over the Jacksonville State Gamecocks on Nov. 18 at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Mathey Gibson, Staff Reporter

In what was a clear, chilly night in Tuscaloosa, Brandon Miller and company made it rain.  

On Friday, No. 18 Alabama rolled Jacksonville State University 104-62 behind the wings of a monstrous 21-for-46 performance from behind the arc. 

Once again, it was Miller who led the way for the Crimson Tide, scoring 20 of his 28 total points in the second half. The Antioch, Tennessee, native could not be contained, hitting five threes to cap off a 7-for-9 performance from the field. 

Fellow newcomer Mark Sears followed right behind him, scoring 18 points on 6-for-14 from the field and 4-for-10 from deep. The dynamic 6-foot guard got to the lane with ease, giving the Gamecocks fits with his quickness and catch-and-shoot proficiency. 

On the boards, freshman Noah Clowney shone again, grabbing 10 rebounds — his third double-digit output of the season. 

Ball movement was key for Alabama, tallying 23 assists, including 14 in the first half. The catalyst? Senior guard Jahvon Quinerly, who led the way with eight in 17 minutes of action.  

“It was great to see [Quinerly] out there,” Alabama guard Nimari Burnett said. “He’s a true point guard, his vision is unmatched. His ball handling, his I.Q, just for him being out there I know it felt good.” 

For Burnett, the shots finally began to fall. After suffering an ACL tear at the beginning of last season, the Texas Tech transfer had struggled to start his 2022-23 campaign. That all changed tonight — nailing five of six threes en route to an 18-point, four rebound performance — a new career high. 

“I’ve been working so hard the last two years, the last three years, all of my life,” Burnett said. “To have a good one, it feels good, and work’s paying off.” 

While Jacksonville State managed to keep it relatively close in the first half behind a masterful offensive performance of its own, the second half told a completely different story — shooting 7-for-27 from the field and 2-for-10 from 3-point range. The Gamecocks scored on only two of their last 15 attempts. 

Freshman Jaden Bradley impressed once more — scoring seven points on 3-for-4 shooting to go along with six rebounds and five assists. The IMG Academy product shone defensively, too, using his build and technical skills to help stymie the Gamecocks around the perimeter.  

The Crimson Tide now owns three of the top four 3-point outputs in SEC history with tonight’s barrage of 21 — drilling 22 against Auburn in 2020 and 23 against LSU in 2021.  

For Alabama head coach Nate Oats, it might just be the beginning.  

“I’ve been trying to tell you guys we’re going to be a much better shooting team,” Oats said. “I don’t think you listened to me until tonight […] I don’t think this is going to be the last time this year we have 20 made threes, to be honest with you. We’re going to take them.”  

Now standing at 4-0, the Crimson Tide will now set its sights towards the Phil Knight Invitational in a matchup against Michigan State University — a team fresh off a win versus Villanova University. 

“Defensively, we’ve been one of the best teams in the country,” Sears said. “To see our offense go well the way it did today, I feel like we ended it off on a good note heading into the tournament.” 

Tipoff from Portland, Oregon, is set for Thursday, Nov. 24, at 9:30 p.m. CT on ESPN. 

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