No. 22 Alabama will look to continue its red-hot scoring start to the season when South Alabama visits Tuesday night in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Crimson Tide (2-0) enters the matchup with the Jaguars averaging 103.5 points per game — good for fourth nationally — after blowout wins over Morehead State and Indiana State.
In the 102-80 victory over the scrappy Sycamores, Aaron Estrada, Grant Nelson, Mark Sears and Jarin Stevenson all scored in double figures.
Estrada led the way with 27 points, five rebounds and five assists. Sears added 24 points and four rebounds, while Nelson tallied 20 points and eight rebounds. Stevenson chipped in 10 points and three boards off the bench.
The Crimson Tide shot 51.6 percent (33-of-64) from the field, including 56.5 percent (13-of-21) from behind the arc, and outrebounded Indiana State 40 to 25 despite trailing 9-0 out of the gate.
“That was a quality win. Indiana State is a really good, very well-coached team,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “We knew it was going to be that way when we scheduled them. They were even better than I thought they were going to be when we scheduled them so for our guys to come out and start out down 9-0, I thought our guys did a pretty good job bouncing back and staying locked in and figuring out a way to help get Aaron (Estrada) going.
“We had three guys score over 20, which I thought was pretty impressive. Our defense was not good again and we’ve got to do a way better job on defense. We had our rotation shrink a little bit from the last game, just with how tight the game was.”
Through two games, Nelson, a North Dakota State transfer, has been the team’s top scorer (22.0 points per game) and rebounder (7.5 rebounds per game). He offers Oats a lot of versatility due to his size and shooting prowess.
Estrada, a Hofstra transfer, is averaging 21.5 points per game and is chipping in four assists and four rebounds an outing. Sears, a fourth-year veteran of college basketball, is averaging 18.5 points per game in addition to his 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
Highly decorated recruit Stevenson offers Oats a rangy scoring option off the bench. The five-star recruit is averaging 11.0 points and four rebounds per game.
After a season-opening loss to Mobile — a non-NCAA school — South Alabama (1-1) bounced back with a 70-56 win over Buffalo in the MAC-Sun Belt Challenge.
Marcus Millender scored 15 points, Isiah Gaiter chipped in 13 and Maxwell Land added 12 to pace the Jaguars’ offense. Millender, a solid defender, also added three steals.
“Proud of our guys. It’s obviously been a tough week, but I really believe in our guys,” South Alabama head coach Richie Riley said. “They showed tremendous fight when our backs were against the wall.”
The Jaguars shot 57.1 percent from the field, won the rebounding battle 36-32 and never trailed in the game.
–Field Level Media
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