TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Brandon Miller had 14 factors and 13 rebounds in his school basketball debut as No. 20 Alabama beat Longwood 75-54 on Monday evening.
Fellow freshman Rylan Griffen additionally scored 14 for the Crimson Tide, and level guard Mark Sears had 12 factors, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Freshman guard Jaden Bradley added 11 factors and 6 boards.
“I thought the competition side, we got out there and played hard,” Alabama coach Nate Oats mentioned. “Effort stuff that we chart, we were much better. We competed really hard even though shots didn’t drop. Sometimes I think guys, when offense goes bad, they quit playing hard. I don’t think we had much of that tonight.”
Alabama’s protection keyed the season-opening win, holding Longwood to 27% capturing and blocking 9 photographs. The Crimson Tide outscored Longwood within the lane 48-24.
“They’re big and long. We would get to the rim so often and it’s just hard to execute,” Longwood coach Griff Aldridge mentioned. “They’re trying to funnel you right into the rim and you have to hit a floater or dump it off. Our guys are so much smaller than theirs, so that’s a challenge.”
Senior ahead Michael Christmas had 12 factors and 5 rebounds to guide Longwood. Walyn Napper added eight factors and three assists.
Alabama held an eight-point lead at halftime and prolonged it on the foul line, making 13 of 18 free throws within the second half.
“Obviously, Alabama’s a very athletic and big team, and we don’t see that type of athleticism and length in practice every day or even in our schedule much,” Aldridge mentioned. “I thought our guys, particularly in the first half, battled well.”
Freshmen accounted for 48 factors in Alabama’s season debut, together with three of the 4 gamers who scored in double figures. Miller, Bradley, Griffen and Noah Clowney (9 factors) additionally mixed to drag down 32 of the workforce’s 67 rebounds.
“Some people had it ranked as the third class in the country and I think it’s showing,” Oats mentioned. “I was happy with the freshman class. We’re going to play them a lot this year, that’s for sure.”
Alabama is prone to get extra manufacturing from returning gamers when its two most veteran guards, Jahvon Quinerly and Dom Welch, return from harm. Welch is day-to-day, however Quinerly will miss a number of weeks after injuring a knee in final season’s NCAA Tournament. Until then it may very well be a heavy dose of underclassmen, particularly contemplating each sophomores on the roster (Charles Bediako and Nimari Burnett) have been within the beginning lineup.
Alabama’s affinity for the 3-point shot was a part of its downfall final season, capturing simply 30.9%. Oats was vocal about this workforce needing to be higher in that regard.
But within the season opener, the Crimson Tide went solely 3 for 28 (11%) from lengthy vary.
“I think we had some first-game jitters from some of our guys,” Oats mentioned. “I think the shooting numbers will take care of itself.”
Longwood performs at George Mason on Friday evening.
Alabama hosts Liberty on Friday evening.
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