Men’s basketball beats Drake in late-game run at ESPN Events Invitational

Austin Hannon, Staff Reporter

The Crimson Tide (5-1) found its way to a 80-71 win over the Drake Bulldogs (3-2) on Friday.

“It’s a bounce back after a disappointing loss,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “Guys could’ve hung their heads and not played hard, but I thought we played really hard. Trying to get out of here 2-1. Gotta get one more against Miami on Sunday.”

Guard Jahvon Quinerly led the team with 18 points, including eight crucial free throws down the stretch. Backcourt counterpart Jaden Shackelford added 14 on 6-for-12 shooting.

Guard JD Davison struggled to take care of the ball once again, turning it over seven times.

After  missing three games with an ankle injury, forward Juwan Gary was the star of the Crimson Tide during Friday’s game. He started for the first time this season and had 14 points and 10 rebounds. 

“I felt confident,” Gary said. “I had my teammates out there to get me back in the flow of the system. Coach trusts me to go out there and start and to give that energy. Just to go out there and help my team get the W was a good feeling for me.”

After losing to Iona on Thursday, the Crimson Tide struggled to bounce back, allowing Drake to control the tempo of the game for the first nine minutes. At the 11:38 mark, the game was tied at 14.

Alabama got into a rhythm, leading to a 19-4 run that put Alabama up 33-18 with 3:48 left in the half. Similar to last game, the Crimson Tide had moments of lackluster play.

Drake finished the first half on a 11-0 run to go into the break, only trailing by four points. For most of the second half, the Bulldogs wouldn’t go away.

After a Noah Gurley jump shot, Alabama led 42-35 with over 16 minutes to go. Five minutes later, the game was tied at 50 after Drake guard DJ Wilkins made a jumper.

The Bulldogs kept their foot down, taking a 56-52 lead with under nine minutes left. An unsettling feeling from 24 hours earlier sat with Alabama fans inside HP Field House in Orlando.

The game flipped back in favor of Alabama. The Crimson Tide went on a 22-8 run to take control of the game and led 74-64 with 2:13 remaining.

The foul game began shortly after, and Quinerly came through at the line, securing the Crimson Tide its fifth win of the season.

The problems from the loss against Iona lingered, with Alabama shooting 59.1% from the stripe and 26.3% from three.

An overall shot percentage of 54.4% and 47 points in the second half led the Crimson Tide to 80+ points for the fourth time this year.

Three standout scorers led Drake. Wilkins along with guard Tucker DeVries and forward ShanQuan Hemphill combined for 47 points.

The trip down to Orlando is not over yet for the Crimson Tide. Alabama will finish up the tournament in the fifth-place game against the Miami Hurricanes on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. CT.