ALABAMA MEN’S BASKETBALL DROPS SEASON-OPENER TO PENN
Despite sophomore guard Kira Lewis Jr.’s career night, Alabama lost its season-opener to Penn, 81-80, on Tuesday night inside Coleman Coliseum.
Lewis led the Crimson Tide with 30 points, 22 of which came during the second half and rallied the team to come back from a nine-point deficit. Lewis played great and just happened to miss the two most important shots. It’s the first game, he’ll get better, Alabama will bounce back, but right now these non-conference games matter. These games come into consideration in March.
With 2.4 seconds remaining, Lewis was fouled sending him to the free-throw line. He missed both attempts and Penn secured the victory.
Freshman Jaden Shackleford recorded 16 points and graduate senior Beetle Bolden added 10 points off the bench. Junior John Petty Jr. finished with nine points, seven rebounds and two steals.
Alabama played a lot more aggressive on defense but during the game, the Crimson Tide’s top defender, junior captain Herbert Jones injured his elbow and did not return to the game
Penn was led by Jordan Dingle’s 24 points, while AJ Brodeur finished the night with a double-double tallying 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
“We have a lot of mistakes to fix but like I told our guys, we are not supposed to be playing our best basketball on November 5,” head coach Nate Oats said in a press release. “We need to be playing our best basketball come February and March during the SEC games.”
Alabama finished 27-of-76 shooting for 35.5 percent, the most in any game since it posted 76 shots in a triple-overtime loss at LSU on Feb. 13, 2013. The Crimson Tide outrebounded the Quakers 42-38 with 17 offensive rebounds.
Alabama’s bench outscored Penn’s bench 20-9 and the Crimson Tide had five blocked shots and finished with 10 steals.
“We have got a lot to fix, we’re going to get back and fix it,” Oats said in the same release. “Sometimes you need to take a loss like this. Taking a loss early isn’t always the worst thing as long as you are resilient enough to come back. I thought our guys’ attitudes were good in the locker room and I think we are going to come back and have a great week of practice and fix a lot of the stuff that needs to be fixed by next Monday.”
Alabama next plays Florida Atlantic on Monday, Nov. 11 at Coleman Coliseum. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.