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

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Nelson shines as Alabama defeats Morehead State to open regular season

CW / Riley Thompson
Alabama forward Grant Nelson (#2) drives the ball towards the net against Morehead State.

On Monday, the Crimson Tide officially began its season with a decisive 105-73 victory over the Morehead State Eagles.  

It was the first time Alabama has scored over 100 points in a season opener since scoring 107 against Mississippi Valley State back in 2001.  

With former Crimson Tide star Brandon Miller in attendance, Coleman Coliseum was electric as Alabama tipped off the new season.  

The Crimson Tide started off the contest red-hot, hitting seven straight field goals, resulting in a 17-5 run.  

Forward Grant Nelson, who was named to the Naismith Men’s Player of The Year Watch List just hours before tipoff, introduced himself to the Crimson Tide faithful with a vicious slam early in the first half.  

Nelson continued to excite the crowd with multiple flashy finishes through contact, including a posterizing dunk in the second half. He finished with 24 points on 7-12 shooting, with 8 points coming from the free-throw line.  

“The fan base is crazy,” Nelson said postgame. “It [the atmosphere] was great. It was a lot of fun.”  

Guard Aaron Estrada picked up where he left off against Wake Forest, finishing with 16 points on 7-10 shooting. He again was able to slash his way to the basket at will and create quality shot opportunities for himself throughout the contest.  

Forward Jarin Stevenson was also able to finish in double figures in his first-ever collegiate game. He finished with 12 points and five rebounds, with 10 of his points coming in the second half. The 6-foot-11-inch forward, who turned 18 in October, showed that despite his large frame, he can play at any spot on the floor.  

“He’s got a lot of Noah Clowney in him,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said, referring to Stevenson. “For a kid that’s supposed to be a senior in high school, he was pretty good tonight in his first college game.”  

Alabama finished with four total players in double figures, with guard Mark Sears also putting up 12 points along with five rebounds, four of which came in the first half. Sears also surprisingly led the team in rebounds all the way up until the second half, when Nelson grabbed all seven of his boards.  

Alabama’s defense looked solid as well, forcing 15 turnovers that led to 29 points for the Crimson Tide. Morehead State struggled to get a quality shot on several occasions, with multiple possessions running very late into the shot clock, igniting the crowd each time.  

The Crimson Tide was outrebounded in the first half 17-13. With a bigger Morehead team that played very physically, it appeared as if the Eagles might have a fairly significant size advantage as the game began. However, Alabama was much more aggressive on the boards in the second half, outrebounding the Eagles 27-12.  

“I thought it was a great start to the season,” Oats said. “We started well tonight and jumped out of the gate. I was pleased with where our heads were at to start the game. I did think we had a little bit of a letdown at various points, but we were able to turn it back up.” 

After a dominating performance to begin the season, the Crimson Tide will look to keep rolling when it faces the Indiana State Sycamores at Coleman Coliseum on Friday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+.  

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