Tuscaloosa, AL: The Alabama Crimson Tide men’s basketball program was ready and equipped for the challenge Saturday against the 7th ranked Vols. They will prepare for another tough matchup against the Florida Gators this evening at 6:00pm CST.
After taking down the 7th-ranked Tennessee Vols (7-1) Saturday, the Tide will look to win it’s fourth straight game tonight against the Florida Gators (5-1). The Tide couldn’t have gotten off to a better start in conference play, defeating both Ole Miss and Tennessee in its’ first two games in-conference.
The Alabama basketball program also hopes to steal a little bit of the spotlight from the Tide football team, who plays in the CFP National Championship Game Monday, January 11th. The Tide and the Gators sit tied atop the SEC standings early, both schools at 2-0.
Alabama shot just 41.9% from the field against Tennessee, but its’ defense was able to stop Tennessee’s volatile offense by holding them to 31.8% shooting. The performance helped lead Alabama to its’ first road win over a top-10 opponent in 16 years. Nate Oats knows that his defense is going to have to step up again in a major way tonight.
“I tell our guys we have to be able to figure out how to win games when our shots aren’t dropping,” Oats said. “If we’re going to win when we’re on fire and lose when we’re not, we’re not going to have a very successful season. I tell them the margin of victory can be determined by how you shoot it, but we still have to win the game.
“Whether it’s offensive rebounds, getting to the free throw line, getting transition buckets — it all starts with your defense and your effort. The guy’s effort has been really good lately.”
Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackelford each lead the team this season in scoring, averaging 13 points each. John Petty and Herb Jones aren’t far behind, with 12.7 and 12 points per game, respectively.
Florida this season has shot just over 50% from the field, and have been able to hold their opponents to just 39%. They were able to hold off LSU in a tight 83-79 win. Three Florida players are averaging more than 11 PPG this season, they are: Tre Mann (15.2) , Scottie Lewis (14) and Colin Castleton (11.7). Florida has played two games without one of its’ best players in Keyontae Johnson, who collapsed on the floor during a game in December against Florida State. Florida postponed 4 games following that incident, but have won both of its’ two contests since starting back up.
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