Alabama wins ‘alley fight’ with Houston for second consecutive top 15 victory

Alabama goalie Jahvon Quinerly (Photo: Stuart McNair, 247Sports)

The ninth-ranked Alabama men’s basketball team beat No.14 Houston, 83-82, on Saturday night at the Coleman Coliseum. For the Crimson Tide (8-1), who beat No. 3 Gonzaga last weekend, it was the Crimson Tide’s second consecutive victory over a Top 15 opponent and the first time that Alabama had been doing this feat since 2000 (Auburn, Tennessee).

Asked about the play of freshman JD Davison, who scored the kickoff with 25 seconds left and blocked a Cougars takedown attempt at the buzzer to seal the victory, junior redshirt guard Jahvon Quinerly pointed out UA’s readiness for another top -15 victory.

“This victory comes from training,” Quinerly told reporters after the game. “The last three or four days we’ve been really tough, and that really helped us tonight.”

Head Coach Nate Oats revealed his approach to training this week, as Tide had a full week between games, before what he called a ‘first game’ when previewing the competition. .

“I thought we had three really good practices on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday,” Oats said. “We have improved a lot on the rebound in these three practices. We obviously didn’t do a good job, especially in the second half – I thought we were better in the first. But I thought they were showing some tenacity.

“We told our guys it would be a brawl in the backyard, like an alley fight, and it was. It’s a tough and physical game. Basically it was rebounds and turnovers. We couldn’t return the ball. We had to bounce it back. Turnover, we fixed in the second half, and the rebound, we were good in the first half, not in the second half.

“I thought we had a hard practice, and I think the guys realize how hard they have to play to win these kinds of games.”

Houston passed Alabama, 43-34, on home turf, and that included a 21-7 advantage on the offensive glass. Cougar forward J’Wan Roberts led all players with 13 rebounds and nine offensive rebounds, which was almost double the combined efforts of the big guys at Tide (7). While few teams bounce back like Houston, this will be an area Oats and society will seek to clean up.

“We got our asses kicked on the glass,” Oats said. “If you watch it regularly, Kelvin Sampson’s teams may be the best offensive rebounding teams in the country, though. That’s why they recruited, hang their hats, coach hard every day. We have to do a better job.

“… We knew it was going to be a war, though, and I’m going to have to watch the video.” Now there were guards getting beaten up, blackouts, big guys stepping up and helping, and then it really wasn’t the big guys’ fault dropping the O-board because they had to come and help when some of our guards were getting beaten on the blow-bys and the guard failed to knock down the smash after being beaten. But we found a way to win the game. We have to improve to bounce back.

There may still be room for improvement, but Alabama managed to defeat another ranked opponent. Oats was happy with the fight his side showed in what could be the most physical game on the calendar, but there’s no time to rest with a road trip to Memphis coming up on Tuesday, December 14. The Tigers (5-4) signed the nation’s top recruiting class in 2021.

“Turn around, we’ve got another one,” Oats said. “Memphis they’re struggling now, but they’re as talented as anyone on our calendar. They have two children who are intended lottery picks, depending on what you are looking at. We’re going to have to be smart with the practices. They played last night so they have an extra day of preparation. We’ll make sure our guys’ legs are under them by Tuesday.

“But we have an incredible schedule ahead of us, and we answered the bell for the most part with Gonzaga winning and Houston winning.”

Did you know BOL has a podcast? The BamaOnLine podcast brings you the latest news from Alabama and information from Travis Reier, Charlie Potter, Hank South and Tim Watts. Watch the last episode here Where subscribe on iTunes today!

Contact Charlie Potter by personal message or on Twitter (@Charlie_Potter).

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