Men’s basketball to take on Oakland Friday night 

Austin Hannon, Staff Reporter

After starting 3-0 for the first time since 2017, the Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0) will take on the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (2-1) Friday night.

The Crimson Tide won their last game against South Alabama, but it wasn’t easy. It doesn’t appear that Friday night’s will be either. 

Horizon League power Oakland will venture into Coleman Coliseum following a solid start to the season. Oakland has played two great programs this season, in West Virginia and Oklahoma State, which were both highly seeded in the NCAA Tournament last year. The Grizzlies lost narrowly in Morgantown, West Virginia, and won in Stillwater, Oklahoma, last week. On Wednesday night the Grizzlies beat Toledo 80-59.

In his 38th season, Grizzlies head coach Greg Kampe is the third-longest-tenured coach in the country, only behind Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski. He also has the third most wins by an active Division I coach, with 644. Back in his teaching days, Alabama head coach Nate Oats would take his teams to Kampe’s basketball camps.

“They’re playing really well now,” Oats said. “Shoot, after [Oakland’s] beating Oklahoma State, I maybe wish I wouldn’t have told him we’d play them. But it’s here now. We’re going to have to play it. He’s a good coach, and he’s done a great job.”

The Grizzlies have yet to allow over 60 points in any of their first three games.

Graduate transfer Jamal Cain from Marquette has made an instant impact, averaging 19.3 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Guard Jalen Moore led the nation in assists per game last season with 8.4 per game. He’s back at it again, averaging seven per game in 2021.

Strong guard play leads the Crimson Tide as well. Jaden Shackelford averages 19 points per game, Keon Ellis averages 17 points per game, and Jahvon Quinerly averages 14.3 points per game.

Guard Darius Miles is also coming around for Alabama. Miles led the team in plus-minus last time at +10 and averages 11 points per game.

“He’s been playing really well for us,” Oats said of Miles. “I think he hit his first six 3s of the year. His effort has been really good. He gets on the glass. He’s a pretty high-IQ guy. His energy has been good.”

This game will be Alabama’s last home game until Dec. 11, when the Crimson Tide takes on No. 15 Houston.

The Alabama-Oakland matchup is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+.