Three things we learned from basketball’s season-opening victory over LA Tech

Alabama guard Jaden Shackelford puts up a jump shot during Alabama’s game against Louisiana Tech.

Courtesy of Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics

Alabama guard Jaden Shackelford puts up a jump shot during Alabama’s game against Louisiana Tech.

Will Miller, Contributing Writer

In front of a rowdy Tuesday night crowd at Coleman Coliseum, Alabama men’s basketball put together a 94-63 victory over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, opening the regular season in the win column for the second consecutive year. 

With fan anticipation at a high following last season’s conference championship and ensuing Sweet 16 berth, the Crimson Tide took a commanding 48-31 halftime lead and didn’t look back. There were successes on the floor for head coach Nate Oats’ squad which can be highlighted as the Tide moves through its season.

The pace of play has not skipped a beat.

Ninety-three points and a flurry of perimeter field goals seemed tough to replicate from last year’s unit, but it was on full display in this year’s season opener. Transition offense helped the Crimson Tide quickly and often. Guard Jaden Shackelford helped lead the charge with 17 points overall. Five Alabama players had double-digit points, including freshman JD Davison with 12 points. Senior Keon Ellis led the Crimson Tide with 18 points. 

Alabama also out-rebounded and scored more second-chance points than Louisiana Tech. 

Alabama isn’t afraid to shoot the 3.

As one of the more prolific teams from beyond the arc last season, the Crimson Tide attacked the perimeter every time they stepped onto the floor. In this season’s opener, they hit 13 3-pointers. 

Leading the way with four made attempts was Shackelford, while Ellis and forward Darius Miles each hit three. Davison, guard Jahvon Quinerly and forward Noah Gurley each added one of their own. 

The combined efforts of the five beat out the Bulldogs’ six made 3-pointers in the game. 

Coleman Coliseum was ready for its first game back at full capacity.

The COVID-19 pandemic severely limited Coleman Coliseum’s attendance figures during the 2020-21 campaign. Against Louisiana Tech, an energized crowd of 12,613 took in a game without attendance restrictions, and 3,000 UA students turned out in force to pay tribute to Luke “Fluffopotamus” Ratliff, the former Crimson Chaos leader who passed away in April after a battle with COVID-19.

They were loud. Alabama head coach Nate Oats took notice, particularly when responding to a chant to check Tyler Barnes into the game. Barnes went on to log four points. However, Oats did say that the Crimson Chaos was “not going to control all [his] decisions.” 

Nevertheless, an involved, invested fan base at Coleman Coliseum is one that lends Alabama a chance to be an intimidating place to play in the SEC. 

Questions? Email the Sports desk at [email protected].