The Alabama Crimson Tide are now 8-0 in conference play after defeating Mississippi State 81-73 on Saturday.
With a formula of driving the lane and passing out to perimeter shooters, Alabama has made the three-point shot their go-to game plan behind shooters like John Petty and Jaden Shackelford.
For the Bulldogs, their defense was up to the task at times. However, in crucial moments of the game, Mississippi State was unable to cover Bama’s three-point specialists and ended up getting burned.
In their victory over the Bulldogs, Bama shot over 42% from behind the line, and Petty tied with freshman guard Joshua Primo for the most threes in the game at four. Mississippi State as a team only hit four three-pointers on Saturday.
Petty spoke to Dari Nowkhah and Daymeon Fishback on the SEC Network’s “SEC Now” after the game. On how he and his teammates have had so much success from behind the arc, Petty said, “We honestly don’t shoot as many threes in practice as you would expect from what we shoot in our games.”
That is hard to believe, considering how well the Tide have done this season shooting the three. Through just 16 games, the Alabama hoops squad has hit 165 three-point shots.
Herb Jones is arguably Bama’s best all-around player. On both offense and defense, he is able to be a difference-maker for his team. Saturday, Jones was the leading scorer on his team with 17 points. He also added five rebounds and seven assists to his stat line.
Bama head coach Nate Oats has completely changed the way Alabama is playing basketball, and his players seem to not only enjoy but also flourish in his system. His system is predicated on the players having the freedom to shoot almost anytime they want as long as the ball has touched the paint, or inside, at least once on the possession.
On playing for Oats, Petty said, “It’s been great playing for coach Oats. He gives us freedom on the offensive end, as long as you’re playing hard on defense, he gives you that freedom on offense to just play.”
Petty added that he was used to the freedom of his play in high school, and he enjoys being able to play with the freedom to shoot when he wants.
For a player like Petty, shot freedom is the reason he has become a star the last two seasons.
On how many threes he would make out of 100 wide-open shots, Petty stated, “If I shot 100 wide-open threes, I would probably hit at least 85.”
He added with a laugh, “I’m pretty high level when I’m wide open.”
Alabama is playing better and better each week, even beating some of the top SEC schools handily, including Kentucky, Florida and Auburn.
The Tide are on their way up and remain at the top of the conference with the only true challenges left being teams they have already beaten.
One of those teams travels to Tuscaloosa this week, as Alabama takes on Kentucky in Coleman Coliseum for a rematch. The first time the two teams met this season, Bama defeated the Wildcats by 20 points. The game is set to take place on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. CT in another tough test for the Tide and their unblemished conference record.
Alabama’s win on Saturday moves their overall record to 13-3 on the season.
Hayden Crigler is a contributing college football writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @hayden_crigler.