It wasn’t the official opening of the Nate Oats Era of Alabama Basketball but it seemed like a promising preview.
The Crimson Tide rolled past Georgia Tech 93-65 at Coleman Coliseum on Sunday, hitting 17 3-point shots in the fast-paced won, although Oats said there was more to come.
“People came up to me after the game and were talking about the pace but to be honest, we are nowhere near where we need to be or where we are going to be.
“Our effort was great. We struggled early with the zone but eventually we broke them. There were way too many turnovers. We will clean up the messiness before conference play, I hope.”
Freshman Jaden Shackleford came off the bench to lead all scorers with 21 points, making six of 10 3-pointers. Sophomore point guard Kira Lewis Jr. added 20 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
Alabama attempted 37 3-pointers, making 17. The records from the exhibition are unofficial but as a reference point, the 17 3-pointers were the most by Alabama since a Dec. 1, 2004, game when UA made 19 3-pointers against East Tennessee State.
The Crimson Tide led 40-32 at halftime but broke the game open with a flurry of 3-pointers early in the second half. Forward John Petty scored all 15 of his points in the second half.
“He missed some early but I told the guys that one of our keys this year is confidence,” Oats said. “If shooters have an open shot, shoot it, don’t look over at the bench to see if it’s a good shot.”
Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner had high praise for Alabama.
“They shot the daylights out of it,” Pastner said. “Jaden Shackelford for crying out loud. He can really shoot it and we didn’t really have him on our scouting report. We used some different combinations, tried to play everybody which we don’t usually do but this game doesn’t count on our record. But Alabama is a very good team and if they shoot like that, they’re going to be a very tough out.”
OATS ADDRESSED the situation of transfer guard Jahvon Quinerly — whose appeal to the NCAA for an immediate eligibility waiver was denied on Friday — and continued to express optimism that the sophomore would be allowed to play for UA this season after being cleared of wrongdoing doing his recruitment out of high school.
I wouldn’t say I was surprised (at the ruling),” Oats said. “Disappointed, maybe but there is an appeals process and we had a feeling that’s where we were going to win it anyways.”
“His case is so different, what he’s gone through,” Oats said. “Nobody knows where you check the box. JQ’s attitude has been great and his parents were obviously disappointed with everything they’ve been through. They want to see him play but I think he’s handling it well and we’re going all the way through with it.
“We’re planning to win the appeal and we’re still planning on him playing next Tuesday (in the season opener against Penn) but we have to go through the appeal and see if we can’t get it won through that process.”
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @cecilhurt