Men’s basketball preps for Friday matchup with South Dakota State

Austin Hannon, Staff Reporter

After a 93-64 victory over Louisiana Tech on Tuesday night, the Alabama Crimson Tide will host the South Dakota State Jackrabbits at Coleman Coliseum on Friday night.

The Crimson Tide were firing on all cylinders in its first game, shooting 50 percent from the field and knocking down 13 3-pointers.

Guards Keon Ellis and Jaden Shackelford led the way, combining for 35 points.

However, South Dakota State will be a test for the 2020 SEC Champions.

The Jackrabbits are coming off of a 16-7 season. They won the Summit League for the fifth straight year over the likes of 2021 Sweet 16 Cinderella Oral Roberts. South Dakota State has made the NCAA Tournament five times since 2012.

What’s even more dangerous about the Jackrabbits is that they didn’t lose any key contributors from that team, returning five double-digit scorers.

Guards Noah Freidel and Baylor Scheierman and forward Douglas Wilson all averaged over 15 points per game last season.

Leading the Jackrabbits is Eric Henderson, who is in his third season as head coach after being an assistant for three years. Henderson won the Summit League Coach of the Year award in his first year in 2019.

South Dakota State defeated Bradley 81-65 in their season opener. The Jackrabbits had five players score double-digit points. South Dakota State also shot 28 for 29 from the free-throw line.

“South Dakota State is a really good team,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “They’ve got good bigs, they’ve got good guards. They’re the most experienced team in the country, I believe.”

Oats is looking for his frontcourt to play better defensively than they did against Louisiana Tech.

“It would be nice if they stayed out of foul trouble,” Oats said. “Our bigs are going to have to play a little bit better for us, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in them.”

The two teams last played in November 2012, with the Crimson Tide earning a 70-67 victory.

Tip-off is set for Friday at 7 p.m. CT in Tuscaloosa. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+.