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

Nate Oats makes history in Alabama’s dominant win over Liberty

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama forward Sam Walters (24) in action against Liberty at Legacy Arena at the BJCC in Birmingham, AL on Saturday, Dec 30, 2023.

One hundred. 

That’s how many wins Alabama head coach Nate Oats has tallied at the helm of Alabama men’s basketball, reaching the milestone in triumphant fashion with a 101-56 win over the Liberty Flames on Saturday.  

Oats is the fastest coach in program history to hit the 100-win mark, doing so in just 147 games.  

“In this business, a lot of coaches don’t get the opportunity to stay long enough to get to 100,” Oats said postgame. “We’ve done well enough that they wanted to keep me around here long enough to get 100, so hopefully we can get to 200 and 300 and keep it moving.”  

The contest was held at Legacy Arena in Birmingham as part of the 2023 C.M. Newton Classic and marks Alabama’s last nonconference game of the regular season.  

Alabama’s offense was very efficient, as it has been for most of the season, shooting over 50 percent from the field and 60 percent from long range.  

Guard Aaron Estrada finished just two assists shy of a triple-double, recording 13 points along with 10 rebounds and eight assists. It marks his second career double-double and the first double-double of the year for the Crimson Tide.  

Oats emphasized Estrada’s accomplishment over his own personal milestone during the postgame press conference and made it clear that he wants to put the Hofstra transfer in similar positions moving forward.  

“Hopefully we can get him a triple-double,” Oats said. “If I do a better job, I can draw up some plays and get him one or two more assists next time he’s this close and we’ll get him there.” 

Guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr. had his best offensive outing of the season, scoring a game-high 19 points on 4-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Twelve of his points came in the first half.  

“Coach believes in me and gives me confidence,” Wrightsell said postgame. “I’ve been getting yelled at in practice for passing up open 3s. So just coming in confidently, being able to catch and shoot a 3 and not passing up any open opportunities felt good today.”  

Alabama’s defense showed improvement from previous contests, holding the Flames to just 33% from the field and 28% from long range. 

Forward Grant Nelson helped anchor the defense, recording 3 blocks and a steal in addition to 12 points and five rebounds.  

The Crimson Tide excelled on the glass as well, nearly doubling Liberty’s rebound total with a 46-24 advantage on the boards.  

Now, Alabama looks ahead to what is sure to be a challenging season of conference play. First up for the Crimson Tide will be a trip to Nashville to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores on Jan. 6. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network at 2:30 p.m.  

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