Alabama Basketball Propels Past Providence, 88-71

Another three-point shooting barrage and five double-digit scorers propelled Alabama over Providence in its final game at the Maui Invitational on Wednesday night

After trailing by eight before it could even get a semblance of offensive rhythm, the University of Alabama men's basketball team proceeded to defeat the Providence Friars, 88-71, in the fifth place game of the Maui Invitational inside the Harrah's Cherokee Center in Asheville, N.C.

The Crimson Tide went back to the three-point well it drew from Tuesday night -- which resulted in a double-digit win over UNLV -- and shot 41.4 percent, making 12-of-29 attempts. 

"I thought our effort was a lot better," Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats said postgame. "We have improved a lot over the last three days we have been here. That's what we are trying to do -- get better. If it took a loss to Stanford to get our guys to where they need to be, then so be it. 

"There's only three teams that are 2-1 one at the end of this event, and we are one of them. I think we have played really good basketball the last two nights and got better every single time out."

Six different Alabama players hit from beyond-the-arc, including sophomore guard Jaden Shackelford who finished with 15 points, six rebounds, and one assist.

Senior guard John Petty Jr. was the Crimson Tide's leading scorer with 16 points, five boards, and two dimes. 

Alabama (3-1) would never relinquish the lead once it took it at 9-8 with 15:51 in the first half on two free throws from sophomore guard Jahvon Quinerly. 

For a large part of the first half, three-point shooting was non-existent for the Crimson Tide only converting on 4-of-17 attempts, but it was layups and shots close to the rim that allowed Alabama to build a 41-32 advantage going into intermission. 

On two-point shots in the opening period, the Crimson Tide went 9-of-15. 

The second half was a different story, though. 

Six of Alabama's first 11 makes in the final 20 minutes all came from the three-point range, which played a large part in extending Alabama's lead to 72-49 with 10:18 to go in the contest. 

Providence was able to cut the Crimson Tide's advantage down to 11, 74-63, with a little over five minutes on the clock due to a scoring drought that lasted almost four minutes and five turnovers from Alabama but three-pointers from Quinerly and freshman guard Josh Primo eventually extended the lead back to 15 at the final media timeout of the game, leading to the 88-71 scoreline. 

Senior wing Herb Jones showcased his offensive progression while scoring 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting. He also grabbed eight boards and dished out five assists. 

Alabama's hard hat award, given out at the end of every game to the player with the most blue-collar points, was won by Jones. 

"I just let the game come to me tonight," Jones said. "I didn't try to force anything. I thought I did that during the first game and I just wanted to come out and play basketball the way I know how."

After scoring double-digits for the first time in his career Tuesday night against the Runnin' Rebels, Primo added 14 points, nailing three triples versus the Friars. The Canadian had the highest plus/minus of any Alabama player at plus-23. 

Both teams were playing their third game in three days and Alabama got the best of the Friars in almost every hustle statistic including out-rebounding them by a margin of 20, while winning the battle for second-chance points, 21-9.

"Coach Ed Cooley does a good job," Oats said. "I have known him for a long time. His teams are always hard-playing and tough. I told our guys we couldn't get out rebounded like we did in the first two games and they answered the bell."

Providence (2-2) was led by junior guard David Duke who poured in 19 points, four rebounds, and six assists. Senior center Nate Watson shot an efficient 6-of-8 from the field for 17 points, but Alabama limited him to only three boards. 

Next up for the Crimson Tide is a trip to State Farm Arena in Atlanta to face Clemson in the Holiday Hoopsgiving event on Dec. 12. Tipoff time for that game will be revealed at a later time.

"Maybe it was first-game jitters against Stanford but we didn't play as hard as we needed to or shoot it as well as we needed to," Oats said. 

"I think we are starting to click now."

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