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No. 11 Alabama Basketball Overcomes Midgame Slump to Defeat South Dakota State

The Crimson Tide blew a 20-point lead but still won by double digits.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It was all Alabama early on, until it wasn't.

The No. 11 Crimson Tide came away with a 78-65 victory over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits Saturday night, but in a very unconventional way.

Alabama hit nine of its first 15 3-pointers to open the game, taking a 37-17 lead in the first half behind four 3-point makes from freshman Noah Clowney and three from junior Mark Sears.

Clowney got off to the hottest start of anyone on the court, making four of his first five shots from distance getting him well on his way to his career-high 22 points, which led Alabama for the game. 

"We know [Clowney] can make them," Alabama head coach Oats said. "He's making them in practice. We recruited him as a shooter and he shot it pretty well in high school. Hopefully this'll get his confidence going so he can stretch the floor for us a little bit."

After Sears put the Crimson Tide ahead by 20 in the first half, the Jackrabbits cut it down to eight by halftime. In the second half, South Dakota State took a one-point lead after a flurry of difficult makes from mid-range and downtown alike, but Alabama's defense tightened up down the stretch en route to the 13-point win.

"I think a more mature group doesn't have the defensive letdown we had," Oats said. "But, we did show enough character after giving up the lead to get it back. I wouldn't call them immature but we have some room to grow."

Clowney made a strong impact on the defensive end as well, drawing four charges in the game. Sears scored 19 in the game, and freshman phenom Brandon Miller added 16 including three 3-point makes.

The Crimson Tide, now 7-1 on the season, will get a week off before taking a road trip to No. 1 Houston next Saturday for a 2 p.m. CT tipoff. The game will be televised on ABC.

Live Updates

(most recent update at the top)

Second Half

  • FINAL: Alabama 78, South Dakota State 65
  • SDSU takes a timeout with 1:05 remaining. Alabama leads 74-63.
  • Bradley misses a shot in the lane but tips his own miss in. Alabama leads 70-58 with just under three minutes remaining.
  • Clowney hits his fifth three of the game to push the Alabama lead to 67-58 at the under-4 timeout.
  • Burnett throws down a slam over a Jackrabbit defender to put Alabama ahead 63-58.
  • Clowney draws his third charge of the game bringing the under-8 timeout. Alabama leads 59-55.
  • Two Burnett free throws push the Alabama lead to 56-53.
  • Clowney breaks a 6-minute scoring drought with a free throw to tie the game at 51.
  • At the under-12 timeout SDSU has taken a 51-50 lead after the teams' sixth 3-point make of the game. 
  • SDSU breaks a nearly four-minute scoring drought for both teams. Alabama leads 50-48.
  • At the under-16 timeout Alabama holds a slim 50-46 lead.
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  • Sears stops the SDSU run with a three. Alabama leads 48-42.
  • SDSU responds with a 5-0 run and has cut the lead down to 45-40.
  • Miller opens the second half with a 3-pointer. Alabama leads 45-35. 

Halftime stats:

sdsu half

First Half

  • HALFTIME: Alabama leads South Dakota State 42-35. Clowney leads Alabama with 14 points, followed by Sears with 12.
  • Sears stops the Jackrabbit run with a touch and-one in the lane. Alabama leads 42-32.
  • South Dakota State has cut the lead back down to 10 with three minutes to play.
  • Oats calls timeout after an 8-0 run from the Jackrabbits. Alabama leads 37-25 with 4:26 to go in the first half.
  • At the under-8 timeout, Alabama leads 37-17 after three straight 3-point makes from Sears. Alabama is now 9-15 from beyond the arc.
  • Sears scores his first points of the game off a 3-pointer as well. Alabama leads 31-15.
  • Miller's first points of the game come off a 3-pointer. Alabama leads 24-10.
  • Alabama has made five of its first eight 3-pointers to start the game with one just coming from Rylan Griffen. Alabama leads 21-8.
  • Clowney draws a charge to bring the game to the under-16 timeout. He leads all scorers with 12 points, all being 3-point makes. Alabama leads 14-6.
  • Clowney has hit three 3-pointers in a row to start the game. Alabama leads 9-2. 
  • Alabama answers immediately with a 3-pointer from Clowney. Alabama leads 3-2.
  • SDSU gets on the board first with a mid-range floater to lead 2-0.

Pregame

  • Tonight's officials are Terry Oglesby, K.B. Burdett Jr. and Orlandis Poole. 
  • Alabama will use the same starting five it has used in every game this season: Mark Sears, Nimari Burnett, Brandon Miller, Noah Clowney and Charles Bediako.
  • Alabama freshman forward Noah Clowney is dressed out and warming up after leaving the North Carolina game last Sunday with a back injury. 

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