Alabama basketball loses to Notre Dame, exits NCAA Tournament after Jahvon Quinerly injury

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

SAN DIEGO — The moment Jahvon Quinerly hit the floor, it didn't take a doctor to know whatever just happened to his knee didn't look good. 

He was grimacing, holding his knee not even four minutes into the game. Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats immediately went to check on his starting point guard. 

Soon after, Quinerly had to be helped walking off the court by two members of the staff as he went straight to the locker room. He was ruled out of the game with a left knee injury before the first half had even ended. 

Without him on the floor, the Crimson Tide couldn't find a way to overcome the loss. Sixth-seeded Alabama went on to lose 78-64 to 11-seed Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at Viejas Arena. 

The Crimson Tide (19-14) finished the season on a four-game losing streak. 

Here are observations and takeaways from the matchup. 

ALABAMA BASKETBALL:Why did most Crimson Tide players skip voluntary shootaround before NCAA Tournament loss?

FAN REACTIONS:Alabama basketball fans on NCAA Tournament loss to Notre Dame, Cormac Ryan going nuclear

TOP PLAYS:Alabama basketball vs. Notre Dame in NCAA Tournament video highlights

Jahvon Quinerly injury tests other guards

The fact that Quinerly had his ups and downs this season is no secret. 

He's spent time in and out of the starting lineup. He had some great games and some bad games. But there's no question that he was a vital part of the team and its success. 

No Quinerly in the lineup created problems for Alabama. 

So, without him, Alabama had to turn to its depth. Those players couldn't do enough to get the job done without Quinerly. 

JD Davison, who started the game on the bench, was thrust into the spotlight. 

JAHVON QUINERLY:What we know about Alabama basketball junior guard's knee injury in NCAA Tournament

JD DAVISON:Alabama basketball freshman guard has been working on his hair since second grade

Davison would be Alabama's point guard for most of the game. Meanwhile, other depth at guard was about to be called upon, too. 

Alabama also needed Jaden Shackelford to step up as he played in his home state of California. He went 2-for-7 in the first half with eight points. Shackelford couldn't give the Crimson Tide enough in Quinerly's absence in the second half, either. 

Shackelford finished 4-for-17 from the field with 13 points and seven rebounds. 

Davison finished with 11 points as he shot 5-for-9 from the field. 

Alabama defense struggles to stop Notre Dame from beyond the arc

Cormac Ryan was deadly from deep. 

The Notre Dame guard from New York proved difficult for Alabama to stop when he went to shoot from beyond the arc. 

His 3-point shooting helped Notre Dame remain with Alabama early, and that shooting also helped the Irish build a lead in the second half. 

Notre Dame as a whole shot well from 3-point range. Nate Laszewski hit a 3-pointer to start the second half, and Notre Dame's next bucket was another from Ryan. 

That Ryan 3-pointer gave Notre Dame a 47-42 lead with 15:56 left, and the Irish built their biggest lead of the day from there, gaining a 14-point advantage over the Crimson Tide at one point. 

Ryan also hit a 3-pointer in the final minutes as the shot clock expired that led to the crowd erupting. 

Ryan led all scorers with 29 points as he went 7-for-9 from beyond the arc. 

Notre Dame shot 63% from deep. 

GOODBREAD:Jahvon Quinerly's injury isn't why Alabama basketball's season came to predictable end

LUKE RATLIFF:Remembering 'Fluffopotamus': How Alabama basketball superfan's legacy lives

Alabama can't capitalize on rare Notre Dame turnovers

Entering the game, the Irish seldom turned the ball over. They had only five in the win over Rutgers in the play-in game Wednesday. 

Yet Alabama forced Notre Dame into a fair amount of mistakes. The problem is, the Crimson Tide offense couldn't take advantage enough of those rare mistakes. 

The Irish ranked 32nd in the country in fewest turnovers entering the NCAA Tournament. 

Alabama forced Notre Dame into double-digit turnovers with 18, but the Crimson Tide had trouble sustaining anything offensively. 

Meanwhile, Alabama had some costly turnovers that helped Notre Dame build its lead early in the second half. At one point, the Crimson Tide had four turnovers over a four-minute span as Notre Dame took control of the game. 

Alabama finished 26-for-64 from the field and 8-for-24 from 3-point range. 

Contact Alabama reporter Nick Kelly: Follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly.