If you had any doubts, put them to rest until a later date.
After trailing 12-1 early in the first half, Alabama (16-13, 8-8 SEC) was able to fight back and beat South Carolina, 90-86, keeping its NCAA tournament hopes alive.
“I told our guys during the week and before the game that I thought this game was one that would reveal a lot about our character and I thought it did, especially with the way we started,” head coach Nate Oats said in a press release. “South Carolina got up 12 in the first five or six minutes of the game.”
With junior guard John Petty Jr. out due to injury, freshman forward Javian Davis stepped up. He was physical and got to the foul line, finishing 11-of-15 from the charity stripe. Davis earned a double-double with a career-high 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Junior forward Herbert Jones continued to do the dirty work, despite only playing with one hand. Having two steals and throwing his body on the hardwood, the “One-Handed Bandit,” as the commentators dubbed him, continued to show why he belongs in the discussion for Defensive Player of the Year.
Sophomore guard Kira Lewis Jr. led the Crimson Tide with 25 points, finishing 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Freshman guard Jaden Shackelford added 18 points and seven rebounds. Jones had 10 points and eight rebounds, finishing 4-of-6 from the foul line.
Alabama outrebounded South Carolina 44-39 and only had 11 turnovers. The Crimson Tide attempted a season-high 47 free throws, capitalizing on 33.
Oats’ was called for his sixth technical of the season, making Alabama 6-0 in games he has been T’d up.
With two games remaining on the Crimson Tide’s schedule, there is an opportunity to reach 18 wins. That, and the chance to earn wins in the SEC tournament could be enough to get a bid into the NCAA tournament.
“This puts us in a great spot going into the last week of the regular season,” Oats said.
But it is crucial Alabama finishes strong and keeps its mishaps to a minimum.
Alabama hosts Vanderbilt (9-20, 1-15 SEC) in its final home game of the regular season Tuesday night. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT.