Fighting together was the recipe for success against the Razorbacks


CW / David Gray

Photo of Jaden Shackelford.

Ashlee Woods | @ashleemwoods, Sports Editor

Winning basketball games isn’t easy. But Alabama has made winning harder than it needs to be throughout the season. 

The Crimson Tide led by as many as 13 points during Saturday’s 68-67 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks. Then the lead began to evaporate. 

Up 60-47 with just over nine minutes left in regulation, Arkansas scored 11 unanswered buckets to cut Alabama’s lead to 1. That run forced Alabama head coach Nate Oats to call a timeout. 

The energy in Coleman Coliseum was zapped. The tension was high as fans anxiously watched Alabama let yet another lead — and possibly the game — slip away. 

The Crimson Tide broke the huddle and once again regained the lead. 

A layup from guard Jahvon Quinerly and a free throw from guard JD Davison gave Alabama a 2-point lead with over three minutes to go. 

Arkansas would not go away easy. A 3-pointer from Arkansas guard JD Notae gave the Razorbacks a 65-64 lead with 2:36 left in the game. Alabama needed someone to step up and take the game away from the hottest team in the SEC. 

That person was forward Noah Gurley. 

The graduate student from Fayetteville, Georgia, made back-to-back clutch jump shots to give Alabama a 68-67 advantage. Despite Quinerly missing a free throw with three seconds on the clock, Gurley’s late efforts were too much for the Razorbacks to overcome. 

“Coach always tells us, ‘If we got any barriers, go make a play,’” Gurley said. “That was kind of just my mindset for the last two buckets.” 

The Crimson Tide’s effort has been questioned throughout the season. There were times — like against Auburn on Jan. 11  — when Alabama got complacent after digging themselves out of a hole. Against Iona on Thanksgiving, Alabama let a 5-point lead slip away. 

This season, Alabama has let games it should’ve won go the other way. 

Saturday showed that when the Crimson Tide fights hard, they can beat almost any team in the NCAA. 

“We were just going to stay together, fight together and win together,” Davison said.

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