Rebounding is the theme when No. 4 Alabama hosts Southwestern Athletic Conference opponent Jackson State on Tuesday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Crimson Tide (9-2) dropped a 100-90 decision to No. 15 Gonzaga in the C.M. Newton Classic in Birmingham, Ala. The setback snapped a four-game winning streak for Nate Oats’ club.
Alabama attempts to get back on the winning track with SEC play around the corner.
Leading scorer Brandon Miller had a season-high 36 points — including 26 in the second half — and outscored player of the year candidate Drew Timme, who had 29 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the Bulldogs.
Miller’s effort wasn’t enough while squaring off against a talented Gonzaga squad that saw six players score in double figures. It also didn’t help that Alabama had 21 turnovers despite shooting 51.7 percent from the field (31 of 60).
“That was a good college basketball game and I’m happy the fans in Birmingham got to see it,” Oats said. “Obviously, it didn’t go the way we wanted it to. They’re a quality team, and offensively they’re really good. We could’ve done better on defense today, and we turned it over 21 times.”
Miller made 6 of 11 shots from behind the arc and scored the most points by an Alabama player since Kira Lewis had 37 at Georgia on Feb. 8, 2020. His game, footwork and ability impressed Timme.
“He probably has the best footwork in the country,” Timme said. “I’ve never seen anything like that. He gave us trouble early and then gave us trouble at the end of the game.”
Getting back in rhythm is critical as Alabama points toward the open of an SEC schedule with a trip to Top 25-ranked Mississippi State three days after Christmas.
Miller leads Alabama in scoring (20.1 ppg) and ranks second on the team in rebounding (8.2) to only Noah Clowney (8.8). Clowney, who averages 9.5 points an outing, finished with nine points against Gonzaga to snap his double-digit scoring streak at three games.
Mark Sears is Alabama’s second-leading scorer at 13.9 points, but Clowney and Jaden Bradley (9.3) have been consistent performers for the Tide recently. Clowney has scored in double figures in three of the team’s last four games. Bradley is coming off a season-high 18 points against Gonzaga in his second career start.
Jackson State (1-10) enters its matchup with Alabama coming off a 102-52 road loss to Texas Tech. It was the Tigers’ fourth consecutive loss.
Ken Evans Jr. (11.2 points, 3.6 assists), Trace Young (10.6 points, 5.4 rebounds), Coltie Young (9.5 points) and Romelle Mansel (7.3 points, 5.7 rebounds) are Jackson State’s top players.
Coltie Young, the Tigers’ best shooter, went 7-for-13 from the 3-point line and scored a season-high 23 points in a hard-fought 69-59 road loss at No. 17 Mississippi State on Dec. 14. He scored just six points in the loss to Texas Tech but went 2-for-2 from behind the arc.
Jamarcus Jones (7.9 points, 3.8 rebounds) has finished in double-digit four times this season and is a reliable scoring threat off the bench for head coach Mo Williams.
–Field Level Media