After a 103-101, four-overtime win over then-No. 1 North Carolina secured third place at the Phil Knight Invitational last weekend in Portland, Ore., No. 11 Alabama returns home to face South Dakota State on Saturday night.
The Crimson Tide (6-1) have to avoid looking past the Jackrabbits (3-5) with another No. 1 team looming on the schedule. After Saturday’s tilt in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Alabama has a week off before playing at top-ranked Houston on Dec. 10.
In the win against the Tar Heels, Jahvon Quinerly, Brandon Miller, Jaden Bradley and Charles Bediako spearheaded the Crimson Tide’s overtime magic.
Quinerly and Miller scored all seven of Alabama’s points in the third OT after the Crimson Tide team trailed by six points. Bradley and Bediako recorded all of the Tide’s seven points in the fourth OT to secure the victory.
“That was a fun one,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “I don’t know if I have been involved in a four-overtime game before. I was losing track of how many overtimes we were in at the end, but a lot of credit to our guys, we showed a lot of character there and we could have folded.
“To come back from being down six in the third overtime, we were tired and both teams like to get up and down, and it turned into a halfcourt game for a majority of the end of the game.”
Quinerly looks to be rounding into form following his return from an ACL injury on Nov. 15. He had a season-high 21 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals in 44 minutes against the Tar Heels.
Miller has been Alabama’s top player — and its most clutch performer. He leads the Crimson Tide in scoring (19.6 points per game), rebounding (8.9 per game) and minutes played (33.9 per game). He also is shooting a team-best 48 percent from the 3-point arc (24 of 50).
Bradley (8.4 points, 3.0 assists) has been terrific off the bench, and Bediako (6.0 points, 7.4 rebounds) has been steady in the post. Mark Sears ranks second on the team in minutes (33.3) and points per game (14.3) after putting up a team-high 24 on Sunday.
Last year, South Dakota State led the country in 3-point shooting (44.5 percent). However, the Jackrabbits have taken a step back in that area and were shooting 35.9 percent from behind the arc after going 10 of 21 from deep in an 83-68 road loss to Kent State on Friday.
Zeke Mayo, who scored a team-high 12 against the Golden Flashes, leads the Jackrabbits with averages of 12.5 points and seven rebounds. Mayo and William Kyle III (10.5 points, 3.9 rebounds) are a nice inside-out combo for a South Dakota State team that features nine players who average double digits in minutes played.
Alex Arians (7.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists), Matt Dentlinger (9.4 points) and Charlie Easley (8.9 points) are also reliable contributors for head coach Eric Henderson.
Luke Appel was the Summit League Sixth Man of the Year last season and a preseason first-team all-conference pick entering the current campaign. However, he is averaging just 6.4 points this season, and he didn’t play against Kent State.
–Field Level Media