Men’s basketball falls short against Davidson in late rally

Jahvon Quinerly prepares to shoot during the C.M. Newton Classic on Dec. 21, 2021.

Courtesy of UA Athletics

Jahvon Quinerly prepares to shoot during the C.M. Newton Classic on Dec. 21, 2021.

Austin Hannon, Staff Reporter

The Alabama Crimson Tide’s (9-3) furious late game rally came up one free throw short against Davidson in the C.M. Newton Classic.

After being fouled with less than four seconds on the clock, Alabama guard Jahvon Quinerly went to the free throw line for the first time of the night to shoot one-and-one.

Quinerly knocked down the first. After stepping back up to the stripe, he missed the second.

The Crimson Tide only had four team fouls with 3.3 seconds left, and the team didn’t have enough time to foul the Wildcats three times. The clock expired, leading the Davidson Wildcats (9-2) to a 79-78 victory at Legacy Arena in Birmingham.

Davidson put on a shooting clinic in the “Magic City,” shooting over 53% from the field in its win. The Wildcats also made 12 of their 24 3-point attempts, lighting up the scoreboard one shot at a time. Davidson finished the game with 29 made field goals, and 22 came off an assist.

Guards Michael Jones, Hyunjung Lee and Foster Loyer combined for 49 points and 10 3-pointers made. 

When Alabama pressured the perimeter, the paint opened up. Davidson forward Luka Brajkovic dominated inside to the tune of 22 points and seven rebounds.

After scoring zero points against Jacksonville State, guard Jaden Shackelford scored 20 points on 8-for-15 shooting. Forward Juwan Gary was efficient, adding 15 points on only five shots, and he grabbed eight rebounds.

But it wasn’t enough to keep up with the Wildcats, who led for 30:35 of the total 40 minutes.

Early on, the shots weren’t falling for either side. Davidson started 3-11 from the field, and with 12:53 remaining in the first half, the Crimson Tide led 12-7.

Everything changed from that moment on. The Wildcats used the next four minutes to go on a 16-0 run to jump out to a 23-12 lead.

The Crimson Tide went on their own run, outscoring Davidson 13-4 to cut the lead to two with just over six minutes to play in the half.

After a JD Davison layup, Alabama led 35-34, but the Wildcats finished the half on a 7-0 run to take a 41-35 lead into the locker room.

Davidson brought the same energy back onto the floor, opening the second half on a 13-6 run to open up a 54-41 lead that stunned the pro-Alabama audience.

But the Crimson Tide didn’t lay down. Quinerly knocked down a jumper with just over six minutes to go that trimmed the Wildcat lead to 67-66.

After quick baskets from Lee and Jones, Davidson saw themselves back up six. Tto pile on, the Wildcats went up 79-69 with 2:01 on the clock after a banked in 3-pointer by Brajkovic. 

Alabama showed a hard press, and Davidson began to fumble the game away. Crucial turnovers led to Crimson Tide baskets, and the Crimson Tide finished the game on a 9-0 run. Nevertheless, Alabama came up one point short after the miss from Quinerly.

“It takes maturity to play that hard the whole game,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “It was good that we showed fight, though.”

Alabama finished with a 39-27 advantage on the glass and grabbed 16 offensive rebounds. Oats said they lost the game on the defensive end. 

“If you’re going to give them open shots, you’re going to get beat,” Oats said. “And our bigs didn’t do a great job guarding one-on-one. It’s hard to win at a high level doing this. We can’t win like we did last year without guys buying into being good defenders.”

This game marks the end of nonconference play for the Crimson Tide until they face off with the No. 1 Baylor Bears on Jan. 29 for the Big 12/SEC Challenge. 

Alabama’s next game will be against the No. 19 Tennessee Volunteers. The SEC opener will take place at Coleman Coliseum on Dec. 29.