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The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Men’s basketball falls to Wake Forest in charity exhibition

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama guard Aaron Estrada (#55) drives toward the goal against Wake Forest.

On Sunday, the Alabama Crimson Tide came up short against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 88-80 in an exhibition game at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  

The match was held as a charity event to support stroke research at the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Stroke Center. 

The Crimson Tide entered the contest without its veteran guard, Mark Sears, who continues to deal with a lingering groin injury.  

Alabama started off the contest with very well-rounded offensive production, with several players scoring from inside and beyond the arc. 

Forward Sam Walters picked up where he left off in his 29-point performance against TCU, hitting three 3-pointers in the first half.  

Guard Aaron Estrada also stepped up in one his first contests in an Alabama uniform. He would have 16 points at the half, getting to the rim as he pleased and hitting a few shots from midrange. 

Alabama also outrebounded Wake Forest 19-8 in the first period, with eight of the 19 being offensive rebounds, leading to nine second-chance points. 

The Crimson Tide’s defense was very active in the first half as well, recording eight steals and practically shutting down offensive production from all but two of Wake Forest’s players.  

Guards Cameron Hildreth and Hunter Sallis combined for 33 of the 39 points scored in the first half by the Demon Deacons.  

The Crimson Tide had all the momentum heading into the second half, leading 52-39. 

Wake Forest immediately flipped the script to begin the second half, however, going on a 21-2 tear.  

Alabama had no answers for Hildreth and Sallis, as the duo hit shot after shot, willing their team back into the contest. Guard Parker Friedrichsen also stepped up for the Demon Deacons, hitting two big 3s early in the second half.  The Crimson Tide missed eight of nine shots to start the period.  

The Crimson Tide, which led by 19 towards the end of the first half, now trailed by as many as 10 points in the second.  

Alabama was able to make a small push toward the end of the game, cutting the Wake Forest lead to as little as 1 with about three and a half minutes remaining. But a series of fouls and missed shots by the Crimson Tide helped the Demon Deacons put the game out of reach. 

Both teams struggled with turnovers throughout the game, but it was a particularly rough day for the Crimson Tide. The team turned the ball over 18 times in the contest, leading to 29 Wake Forest points.  

Hildreth finished with a game-high 38 points for Wake Forest, with 16 of those coming from the free-throw line. Sallis finished with 27 points.  

Estrada led Alabama in scoring, dropping 24 points along with six rebounds and three assists. On the flip side, he also led the team with five turnovers, three of them from travels. The Hofstra transfer is already establishing himself as a threat from everywhere on the court in this offense and if he can limit his number of turnovers going forward, he’ll be a real problem for opposing defenses.  

Forward Nick Pringle also stepped up for Alabama, hitting 5 of 5 shots from the floor and finishing with 13 points with nine rebounds.  

Walters finished the game with 13 points, going 4-6 from 3-point range.  

This new-look Crimson Tide team is now 0-2 in scrimmages, also losing to TCU back on Oct. 22.  

“I want to thank Coach [Steve] Forbes in partnering with us for this meaningful event and trying to raise money for a good cause,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said after the exhibition. “In regards to the game, I am disappointed with today’s result and how complacent we got after leading by 19 points towards the end of the first half. We have a lot to clean up before next week’s season opener so we will get back in the gym and gear up for Morehead State.” 

One important thing to note is that because this game is an exhibition, both coaches agreed to let players continue playing after reaching five fouls, which would normally result in an ejection. This resulted in a few players from both teams getting to play a little longer than they would have otherwise.  

Alabama will look to shake off this loss as it prepares to take on Morehead State at Coleman Coliseum in its season opener on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. on SEC Network+.  

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