Alabama defeats LSU to win SEC Tournament — ‘We are a championship school’
It has been a long journey already, but after Alabama’s SEC Tournament Championship win on Sunday the Tide hope that one of the greatest seasons in school history is far from over yet.
After winning both the regular season SEC Championship and then the SEC Tournament title, Bama has their sights set on the NCAA Tournament. What Nate Oats and company has been able to do so far is especially impressive for a second-year coach.
After the game Oats spoke to the media and had some high praise for Alabama’s athletics program as a whole. On what the university’s basketball and football teams have been able to accomplish, he said, “We aren’t a football school or a basketball school. We are a championship school.”
However, Oats isn’t satisfied yet with his team’s season. He wants to take his players far into the big dance with Alabama as a projected two-seed.
In the SEC Tournament finale LSU stayed toe-to-toe with Alabama down to the final buzzer. No team led by more than eight points the entire game and neither squad kept a lead for long in the second half.
Alabama, much like they have all season, got a huge impact from their bench while LSU relied heavily on their starting five to get their points. In the first 33 minutes of the game Alabama led 26-0 in the points off-bench category.
One of those bench players for the Tide is Jahvon Quinerly who finished the championship game with five rebounds and 14 points — including going three for seven from deep. Quinerly has been playing at a high level down the back stretch of this season.
He has been giving Alabama a lift while John Petty seems to be in a bit of a shooting slump and Josh Primo is injured with a sprained MCL.
Quinerly was recognized for his efforts by winning the SEC Tournament most valuable player (MVP) award. His 47 total points over three games and shooting 46% from behind the arc pushed Quinerly past Herb Jones for the honor.
Jones did have a dominant performance in the championship game by grabbing his second double-double of the tournament. Rebounding was key and Alabama had one of their best games on the glass of the season. Jones is partly responsible for that feat by leading the team with 11 rebounds.
Although it looked like Alabama was going to come away with an easy win early, the Tigers’ Trendon Watford made sure to make it a tough game for the Tide. Watford is a Birmingham native who attended Mountain Brook High School.
That made this game mean a little more to Watford who went on to have a career high night with 30 points and eight rebounds. Alabama wasn’t able to stop Watford in the second half, but they were able to outlast him to come away with the championship win.
Jaden Shackelford led the Tide in scoring with 21 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists on Saturday. He made five three-point shots against the Bayou Bengals to boost his team to a win.
The NCAA Tournament officially begins this Thursday. Alabama will find out what seed they will be and who they will matchup against first, Sunday at 5:00 p.m. CT. While most experts think Bama is locked in at a two-seed, it is possible that the Tide could sneak their way into a one-seed.
Hayden Crigler is a contributing college football and college basketball writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @hayden_crigler.