Brandon Miller’s hot hand propels Bama Basketball past Jax State

Jacksonville State hung out with Alabama for a while, but the Gamecocks couldn’t hang out with Alabama freshman Brandon Miller. Miller scored 20 points in 6:51 through the middle of the second half as Bama went from a 13-point lead to a 32-point lead en route to a 104-62 win over Jax State Friday.

Alabama, ranked 18th nationally by the Associated Press and 16th in the Coaches Poll, improved to 4-0 while Jax State fell to 1-2.

Alabama next goes to the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Oregon, where the Crimson Tide will open Thanksgiving Night against Michigan State at 21:30 CST (7:30 Pacific) on ESPN. The tournament will continue on Saturday, November 26 (Bama vs. Oregon or UConn) and Monday, November 28 (TBA). The Tide returns to the Coleman Coliseum on December 3 against South Dakota State.

Miller finished with 28 points and 8 rebounds. He hit 9-12 from the field, including 7-9 on Treys. Mark Sears and Nimari Burnett each had 18 points.

Alabama coach Nate Oats has assured skeptics he has a good shooting team, and the Friday Tide players have made his case. Bama hit 34-66 field goals (51.5 percent) and 21-46 on three-point attempts for 45.7 percent.

“I don’t know if anyone believed me,” Oats said. “Of course it’s nice to take pictures.”

He said: “Our defense played better in the second half. We gave them too many points for their possessions. Things really got going after the first four minutes of the second half.”

Oats was also pleased with ball movement, resulting in 23 assists.

“I think we’re in a good place,” he said. “The boys do what we ask of them. We took good care of the ball.” Bama only had 13 turnovers, and those resulted in just 9 Jax State points. The Gamecocks only made 14 turnovers, but the Tide scored 24 points less.

Jacksonville State got 13 points each from Juwan Purdue and Amanzi Ngumezi and 12 from Demaree King as the Gamecocks 19-54 field goals (just 7-27 in the second half) for 35.2 percent and 9-24 with three points (37 .5 percent) achieved ).

Both teams made 15-21 free throws.

Jahvon Quinerly, who continues to recover from an ACL injury, played 17 minutes and had a pair of threes for six points, but his main contribution was eight of Bama’s 23 non-turnover assists. “It was great to have him back,” Oats said.

Alabama didn’t quite have the recovery night it had in the first three games when it averaged over 58 per game, but the Tide still had a 49-25 advantage on the boards. Noah Clowney led the way for the Tide at 10.

Alabama had advantages of 21-10 on second chance points, 22-14 on points in the suit, and 16-0 on fast break points.

Jahvon’s brother Jaden gets a mention as playing his free throw at 1:31 after clearing the bench marked the flood as a century mark.

Jahvon Quinerly’s entry into the game early in the first half made a big impact, as his five first-half assists resulted in 14 Crimson Tide points when the game was in back-and-forth mode. Alabama would emerge with a 51-39 lead.

Bama scored the last eight points of the half and also had a 16-4 run midway through the half that gave the Tide a 35-28 lead by seven – and after four draws and four lead changes, in the lead for the remainder of the half lay.

It didn’t seem like a 12-point lead at halftime as the Gamecocks managed to withstand Bama’s effective shooting. Alabama made 12 three-pointers on 22 attempts (54.5 percent) and 18-31 overall on field goals (58.1 percent). The Gamecocks were good with 12-27 (44.4 percent) and 7-14 Treys. Jacksonville State had the 8-10 free throws to the Tide’s 3-6 advantage.

Mark Sears was 4-6 on three-pointers and 6-8 on field goals for 16 first-half points.

Jax State led by 5 points midway through the first half, but Alabama finally took the lead 27-26. The 12-point lead on a Sears drive with three seconds remaining was Bama’s largest of the first half.

It would grow quickly in the second half as Bama opened with a 24-9 start.

TIDE NOTES: Alabama starters were the same as in Bama’s first three games, Charles Bediako at center with guard Mark Sears, guard Nimari Burnett, forward Noah Clowney and forward Brandon Miller.

Alabama’s group of newcomers certainly helps. Of the Tide’s 339 points, 268 were scored by newcomers—79.1 percent.

Alabama’s 21 assists are the third most in Crimson Tide history and one of three best times in the Southeastern Conference. Bama’s record is 23 against LSU and second-best against Auburn.