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

Men’s basketball bounces back with win over Arkansas State, prepares for Purdue 

CW/ Elijah McWhorter
Alabama basketball player Mark Sears (#1) attempts to score against Arkansas State on Dec. 4 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The Alabama men’s basketball team improved to 6-2 with an 89-65 win over Arkansas State by doing what it does best: forcing turnovers, getting out in transition and shooting the 3 ball.  

Alabama forced 12 turnovers in the first half alone and scored 23 first-half points off turnovers. Arkansas State attempted to drive to the basket but was swarmed with multiple Alabama defenders, which led to a multitude of blocks and deflected passes.  

“Alabama did a great job, I know they’ve been preaching defense,” said Arkansas State head coach Bryan Hodgson, who is in his first year at Arkansas State after being an assistant at Alabama for four years. “We went 6-30 from 3 and I thought that they played a huge part in that.”  

Alabama was excellent in transition, in particular guard Mark Sears and his ability to get to the basket while also finding teammates open behind the 3-point line. Eight different Alabama players knocked down 3-pointers in the first half.  

“I just wanted to be aggressive and smart, wanted to get my teammates involved early,” Sears said.  

Early on, Sears knocked down a 3-pointer to put him over 1,500 points in his college career, and guard Aaron Estrada also reached the 1,600 mark in the second half.  

“It’s a blessing to be able to hit the 1,500 mark and especially be able to do that in my home state,” Sears said.  

After a 3-pointer from guard Taryn Todd cut the Alabama lead to 6 with 11:37 remaining in the first half, the Crimson Tide responded with a 20-5 run over a seven-minute time span. Multiple players contributed during this run with Sears, forward Grant Nelson, guard Rylan Griffen, forward Jarin Stevenson, forward Mouhamed Dioubate and guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr. all scoring.  

“That’s one thing, he’s [Oats] got everybody that’s coming off the bench and so you can’t really help off a ton of people,” Hodgson said.  

Nelson scored both inside and outside in this game. Off multiple Sears passes, Nelson netted two 3-pointers, but his night was highlighted by a reverse jam early in the second half that reignited the crowd at Coleman Coliseum. This was followed by a fan banking in a half-court shot during a timeout that erupted the crowd once more.  

After hitting nine 3-pointers in the first half, Alabama was limited to just four in the second half, but this didn’t stop the offense from putting up 40 points. Forward Mohamed Wague scored 10 second-half points with two buckets inside and 6-for-6 shooting from the free-throw line. He also contributed on the defensive end, blocking three shots, grabbing six boards and providing multiple double teams that forced errant shots and passes.  

“He had five offensive rebounds, you know, he had three blocks decent job protecting the rim,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “I thought he gave us some good minutes and did a lot of good things.”  

Guard Davin Cosby Jr. provided a nice spark off the bench with three 3-pointers and five defensive rebounds to go along with an assist.  

“I will say it felt good to be out there,” Cosby said. “It was great to have the opportunity to play and show what I have and hopefully earn some more minutes.” 

“He’s getting better on defense, and he’s got an unbelievable attitude,” Oats said. “And we know he can shoot it.”  

The bench altogether scored 33 points with Stevenson finishing with 13 points shooting 2-3 from behind the arc while snatching four rebounds.  

“Jarin gave us some good minutes, hit two 3s,” Oats said. “We need to get him to rebound a little bit better, but I thought he scored well.”  

Alabama held Arkansas State to 33.8% from the field and 20% from 3.  

“I thought we played really well defensively in the first half, but I thought we let up on that side a little it in the second half,” Sears said.  

A key aspect of this was holding the Red Wolves to just 8 second-chance points. However, Alabama did allow 15 offensive rebounds even though they didn’t turn into a lot of points.  

“They exposed a few things that we need to work on defensively,” Oats said. “Our defensive rebounding needs major work before we play Purdue.”  

Alabama will get its starting center Nick Pringle back before it heads to Toronto to take on star center Zach Edey and the No. 4 Purdue Boilermakers this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. CT. 

“He’s a great kid, I love him, and we just needed to clean a few things up and talk through things,” Oats said. “He’s got a great energy about him, and he can help this team win a lot of games moving forward.” 

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