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

Alabama men’s basketball tramples South Carolina in SEC home opener

CW / Riley Thompson
Alabama guard Mark Sears (#1) takes a shot from beyond the 3-point line.

In its conference home opener, the Crimson Tide men’s basketball team came out with a decisive 74-47 victory Tuesday over the South Carolina Gamecocks.  

South Carolina came into the matchup with the top record in the conference, sitting at 13-1 and coming off a victory over Mississippi State. 

Forward Nick Pringle started for Alabama over the injured Mohamed Wague, who appeared to be wearing a boot on his right foot during the contest. According to Alabama head coach Nate Oats, Wague is week-to-week with a right foot injury.  

It was a back-and-forth kind of first half from both teams. South Carolina began the contest on a 10-3 run, made possible by four turnovers in five minutes from the Crimson Tide, leading to 8 points for the Gamecocks. 

Alabama responded with an 8-0 run of its own, however, as guard Mark Sears led the offensive charge early.  

Sears, who entered Tuesday night’s contest as the Crimson Tide’s leading scorer, had one of his best halves of the season. He scored 15 of Alabama’s 30 first-half points. 

In addition to turnovers early on, the Crimson Tide struggled with securing rebounds in the first half, particularly on the defensive end. The Gamecocks managed to snag six offensive rebounds, leading to 5 second-chance points.  

After the two large runs from both teams, the lead went back and forth for the last 10 minutes in the half.  Alabama entered the locker room with a 30-29 lead. It was Alabama’s lowest-scoring half of the season.  

“We played an awful first half,” Oats said postgame. “It’s probably as bad of a half as we’ve played all year.” 

The Crimson Tide hit the ground running to begin the second half of play, going on a 13-0 run facilitated by the stellar offensive play of Sears. He scored or assisted with 10 of the 13 points, including a spectacular pass that resulted in a high-flying slam from guard Rylan Griffen. 

This 13-0 run turned into a 24-5 run as the Gamecocks could not find an answer for Alabama’s offensive barrage.  

Alabama defense was smothering in the second half as South Carolina had trouble getting almost anything to fall. The Gamecocks shot just 6-27 from the field in the second half, scoring 18 total points. It was South Carolina’s lowest-scoring game of the season.  

“I feel like our defense went up a notch in the second half,” Sears said postgame. 

In addition to its defense, the Crimson Tide tightened up on the boards, outrebounding South Carolina 24-12 in the second half. Alabama finished the contest with a 36-31 rebounding advantage. 

Guard Aaron Estrada led Alabama in rebounding with seven, along with 17 points.  

Sears led all scorers with 31 points, along with six rebounds, three assists and three steals.  

During a scuffle in the second half, the two teams had choice words for each other, resulting in a double-technical call. South Carolina head coach Lamont Paris claimed the Alabama bench instigated the conflict, but Oats said the Gamecocks had bold words for the Crimson Tide. 

“They [South Carolina] made the statement the SEC isn’t ready for them,” Oats said, referring to the scuffle. “I guess we’ll see if the SEC is ready for them, but this SEC team was ready for them.” 

Alabama now looks ahead to a road trip to Starkville to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network at 7:30 p.m. CT. 

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