Alabama men’s basketball beats Louisiana in Charity Exhibition

Austin Hannon, Staff Reporter

Alabama men’s basketball fans got their first look at the 2021 team in a 73-68 win over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in the Charity Exhibition on Sunday.

It wasn’t easy for the Crimson Tide. They trailed for a large portion of the afternoon, leading for 11 minutes and 28 seconds of the 40-minute game. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns jumped out to a 16-7 lead after the first 10 minutes of play.

Alabama went on a six-minute run to even the score at 21 apiece with just over four minutes to play in the first half.

Still, Louisiana took a 33-32 advantage into the locker room after Alabama guard JD Davison scored a layup as the buzzer sounded.

The Ragin’ Cajuns didn’t  stop there.

Louisiana continued to push the Crimson Tide around for the first four minutes of the second half, holding a 46-37 lead.

Then Keon Ellis took over the game. 

Coming into the season, Ellis was not selected for the All-SEC team like his counterparts Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly, but he said he didn’t take it personally. He just wants to prove himself on the court, and that’s what he did Sunday afternoon.

Ellis led Alabama on a 13-5 run on both ends of the court, including a block to ensure a shot clock violation and a four-point play on the other side. The run handed Alabama a 52-51 lead with over 11 minutes to go.

The Crimson Tide used the next few minutes to flex their muscle and prove that they’re the better team. Going on a 15-3 run, Alabama found themselves in front 67-57 with just over four minutes left on the clock.

Louisiana still didn’t go away. The Ragin’ Cajuns scored nine unanswered points to cut the Alabama lead to one with under a minute remaining.

In the next Crimson Tide possession, Davison went to his left and finished a tough layup to extend the Alabama lead to three points.

After two free throws from Davison, Louisiana guard Greg Williams Jr. missed a wide-open 3-pointer that would have tied the game at 71. 

Instead, Davison made two more shots from the stripe, and the Crimson Tide held on.

Ellis led Alabama with 21 points. Davison finished with 19, including the team’s last six. Furman graduate transfer Noah Gurley added 13 oints of his own.

Alabama starters Jahvon Quinerly and Juwan Gary did not play, due to breaking team rules. Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats said they have since resolved the situation. Quinerly and Gary will play in the opener against Louisiana Tech on Nov. 9.

Because of the limited players, Jaden Shackelford played almost 39 minutes. It was a tough day for Shackelford, who shot 1-14 from the field, including 1-7 from the three-point line.

The leading scorer for the Ragin’ Cajuns was forward Kobe Julien, who finished with 17 points.

Oats said he was glad his team was tested and knows there are still things to work on before opening night, which is just over two weeks away.

“It was a perfect exhibition game in my opinion,” Oats said. “They are a good team, and that is the reason we chose to do a charity exhibition against a DI program. Louisiana is really good. They are going to battle you and stretch you all game long. It showed us that we have plenty of work to do in these next coming weeks.”

Alabama plays its season opener against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Tuesday, Nov. 9.