Men’s basketball holds on to win against South Alabama


CW / Davida Franklin

Forward Darius Miles goes over a South Alabama defender for a shot on Nov. 16, 2021.

Austin Hannon, Staff Reporter

It wasn’t the prettiest win of Alabama head coach Nate Oats’ tenure, but the Crimson Tide held on to beat the South Alabama Jaguars 73-68 on Tuesday night at Coleman Coliseum.

Guards Jaden Shackelford and Keon Ellis led the team with 18 points each, but no basket was easy for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama came into the game favored by over 20 points, and the Jaguars took that personally, leading for over 39% of the game.

South Alabama has a roster loaded with former Power Five players, including former LSU Tiger Charles Manning Jr. and former Auburn forward Javon Franklin, and they led the way in nearly upsetting the Crimson Tide.

Alabama jumped out to an early 10-2 lead. It looked like it would be an easy victory for the Crimson Tide, but after a 15-6 Jaguars run, South Alabama led 17-16 with 10:04 left in the first half.

They extended their lead to 26-21, with 5:16 remaining in the first half after a Manning jump shot.

After a Shackelford 3-pointer with under a minute left, the Crimson Tide went into the half only trailing 34-31. Shackelford led the team with 13 points in the first half.

“I just feel like we let them speed us up a little too much in the first half,” Shackelford said. “I feel like we didn’t make all the right reads that should’ve been made, but it’s something that we talked about at halftime and kinda helped us bring those down a little bit.”

The Jaguars kept their foot on the pedal to establish a 43-40 lead with 15:25 to go. South Alabama led until the media timeout with less than 10 minutes to play.

That’s when Alabama flipped the switch.

Ellis and the Crimson Tide used the next two and a half minutes to score 10 unanswered points to lead 59-51 with 8:14 remaining.

Once again, the Jaguars responded. 

South Alabama had a run of their own, tying the game at 62 after a Manning 3-pointer with just over three minutes left in the game.

After allowing six straight points, the Jaguars tried a full-court press, which then led to a loud slam from Alabama guard JD Davison to put the Crimson Tide up 70-64 with 44 seconds left on the clock.

That was the knife in the heart of the Jaguars, as Alabama held on to win by five. A win is a win, but there is work to be done for Alabama.

“Give a ton of credit to South Alabama,” Oats said. “I thought they came in, played hard.”

Manning finished with 23 points, six rebounds and four assists, and Franklin added 11 points and 11 rebounds.

The Crimson Tide turned the ball over 22 times. If that continues, there could be a lot of losses.

“They got up into us,” Oats said. “A couple of times, our guards just handed them the ball, or they deflected it off our legs. Our guys need to be a little tougher if they want to press into you like that. We play with plenty of space on the floor. They have to be able to beat your man.”

Oats said some turnovers were just “boneheaded passes.” Alabama shot 25.9% from beyond the arc and missed seven free throws.

In a game with a lot of negatives, Oats’ team still came away with a tough victory.

“I give our guys a little bit of credit there in the middle of the second half,” Oats said. “They kinda got it together, got some stops and made a run and did what they needed to.”

Alabama center Charles Bediako tallied a whopping five blocks in 26 minutes played.

The Crimson Tide will host Oakland, which came away with a win at Oklahoma State last week. The game is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on SEC Network+.