Raining In Seattle, No. 16 Alabama Stuns No. 3 Gonzaga
In front of a sold out, 18,100-fan crowd in Seattle's new Climate Pledge Arena, the No. 16 Alabama Crimson Tide beat the No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs, 91-82 to move to 7-1 on the year.
"I thought our defensive intensity was good," said Alabama coach Nate Oats.
"We obviously struggled with with (Drew) Timme a little bit and most of our bigs were in foul trouble most of the game, but Charles (Bediako) was big having seven points, eight rebounds and six blocks, it was big."
Alabama's clear intention was to lean on a strength, its 3-point shooting, to open up the game. In fact, 11 of the Tide's first 15 shots came from outside the arch and they came out hot on the road. Junior guard Jaden Shackelford managed 6-of-7 from three-point territory before the end of the first half.
Freshman center Charles Bediako and graduate forward Noah Gurley were both in foul trouble early with three fouls each through 20 minutes. However, Bediako's defensive ability made it difficult to pull him. The freshman tied his career record of blocks in a game at halftime with five.
While only two from Alabama were in trouble early, personal fouls plagued the whole bench in the first half as the Tide held the lead in that category at 14-5.
Alabama took a 51-35 lead into the locker room thanks to a 10 3-pointer first half, including two from freshman guard JD Davison. The Tide's largest problems to address were the fouls, turnovers, and stopping points in the paint from Gonzaga's junior forward Drew Timme.
They were able to take care of all three and held Timme to just eight points in the second half after dropping 15 in the first.
Fouls reduced in the second half, but that didn't stop sophomore forward Juwan Gary and Noah Gurley from each getting their fourth early into the second half of play.
Alabama held onto a 10-point lead for the majority of the half until Gonzaga sophomore Julian Strawther made his voice heard with nine in the last seven minutes of play. The Tide took over and outlasted at the end and took an eight-unanswered-point run down to the final two minutes of play.
Though guard Jaden Shackelford was only held to eight points in the second, he led the team in scoring with 28 points and collected nine rebounds as well. Freshman Charles Bediako beat his own record for blocks and ended the game with six total and, after the game, coach Oats announced that sophomore forward Darius Miles had won the hard hat award after the upset.
Miles finished the night with just five points, four rebounds, and two steals, but played a key role in being aggressive and forcing turnovers.
Alabama will get another test, this time at home in Tuscaloosa, on Saturday, December 11 with the No. 15 Houston Cougars visiting Coleman Coliseum.
The Bulldogs will take on the Merrimack Warriors at home in Spokane, WA this coming Thursday, December 9, after moving to 7-2 on the season.
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