Nate Oats doesn’t necessarily want to accumulate technical fouls but he can probably live with the one he picked up Tuesday night.
The Alabama men’s basketball coach drew a technical foul midway through the second half against Furman and whether that was the impetus or not, the Crimson Tide reversed a two-point deficit with a 20-6 run that pushed UA to an 81-73 win over the Furman Paladins.
“Once we saw Coach get the (technical), we sort of came together as a team,” guard Jalen Shackleford said. “We could see that they wanted to go on a run there and we said we weren’t going to let them.”
Oats said he didn’t intentionally draw the technical, although it had that invigorating effect.
“I thought their guy traveled, then fouled when he handed the ball off,” Oats said. “I probably should have shut up when they told me to.
“Our defense was really at a high level for about 38 minutes, all but that first two minutes of the second half.”
Shackelford had 14 points in the first half as Alabama (2-2) took a 34-31 lead. Furman quickly erased that with an 11-2 run in the first three minutes of the second half, taking a 42-36 lead with 17:12 to play. But Alabama tied the game with a 6-0 run and played well down the stretch (including 11 of 12 foul shooting) to seal the win.
Shackelford led Alabama with 25 points. Furman’s Jordan Lyons led all scorers with 33 points, 31 of those in the second half.
“The keys for us were to eliminate easy shots on the front end on the break and the back end on the offensive rebound,” Furman coach Bob Richey said. “We did a good job in the first half and the tempo was where we wanted it. But give them credit, they made some big shots and made it hard for us to get offensive rebounds because they are so long and athletic.”
Turnovers still continued to be a problem — Alabama had 22 — but were not as catastrophic as in last Friday’s loss at Rhode Island.
“It’s a major problem,” Oats said of the turnovers. “We can’t beat a team like North Carolina doing that.”
Alabama guard Beetle Bolden sat out the game with a deep bone bruise in his right hand, leaving UA with an eight-man rotation. Bolden could return in time for Alabama’s trip to the Bahamas where it will face No. 5 North Carolina next Tuesday in the Battle for Atlantis opening round.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @cecilhurt