basketball Edit

The 3-pointer: Three takeaways from No. 22 Alabama's win over Mercer

Alabama guard Mark Sears (1) flexes as he celebrates a dunk by Alabama forward Nick Pringle (23) against Mercer at Coleman Coliseum. Photo | Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama guard Mark Sears (1) flexes as he celebrates a dunk by Alabama forward Nick Pringle (23) against Mercer at Coleman Coliseum. Photo | Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports (Gary Cosby Jr.)

Alabama has been red hot this season in Coleman Coliseum. Capping off its fourth straight home game, the Crimson Tide blew out the Mercer Bears 98-67 at home.

Following another efficient shooting night, Alabama shot 59% from the field and nearly broke triple digits for the fourth time in a row this season. With the non-conference schedule getting increasingly difficult from now on, the Crimson Tide have a lot of early momentum right now.

Here are three takeaways from the Crimson Tide's big win at home.

Old-school basketball

We know Alabama head coach Nate Oats loves the 3 ball. Well, his team can score down low as well. The Crimson Tide dominated in the paint all game long and put up 50 points around the rim, a new season-high.

"We play very aggressively," point guard Mark Sears said following the game. "We don't come in the game determining one thing we're going to do. If they give us the paint, we're going to attack the paint hard. They took away the three today so that's what we had to do."

The high-flying Nick Pringle, seeking a huge game this season, dominated in the paint against the Bears, scoring all 14 of his points inside.

"This was [Pringle's] best game he's played for us," said Oats, "You know, he's 7-of-8 from the field, similar to what we saw last year. I'm pleased with where he's at this week."

Alabama kept getting downhill and to the cup with ease. In the first half alone, 22 of Alabama’s first 30 points came from in the paint. Coming from a team who preaches a fast tempo, “3 and D” offense, Nate Oats’ squad had a very prominent impact in the paint.

Red-hot start

Alabama came ready to play in the first half, and made sure the Bears knew it too. The Crimson Tide couldn’t miss for the first 6 minutes of the game, shooting 8-for-8 from the field. Following a corner three-pointer from Grant Nelson, Nate Oats’ squad went on a huge 15-1 run to start the game.

Not only was the Crimson Tide efficient during the run, it was efficient throughout the entire first period. Having no trouble putting the ball through the hoop, Alabama put up 56 points and shot 23-for-29 from the field in the half.

"I thought it was a good start, shot 79% in the first half," Oats said. "I thought it was a pretty good offensive output."

Mark Sears led the hot start in the first half for his team, scoring 10 of the first 15 points of the game for Alabama. Sears finished the half with 19 points, shooting 8-for-10 to start.

Sears Shines Again

The returning point guard is just as good as he was last year, if not, better. The Muscle Shoals native tied a season-high in points with 24, and seemed unstoppable all night long. Not only did he put up numbers, he did it efficiently as well too, shooting 8-for-12 from the field.

"When Mark drives, he's finishing at the rim, getting fouled or making the correct spray out now about 95% of the time," Oats said. "He's grown a lot in his decision making and he's always been pretty tough and physical coming downhill."

While he put up numbers on the scoreboard, he also allowed his teammates to do so as well. Sears was dropping dimes all night, finishing his outing with six assists.

Normally being a sniper from deep, Sears acquired most of his points in the paint. Only shooting 1-for-2 from three-point range, Sears got to the rim like he was a step ahead of the defense all night long. 14 of his points came from down low.

"I want to show that I'm not just a three-point shooter," Sears said. "That's something I just want to expand on my game."

After a four-game home stretch to start off the season, the Crimson Tide will hit the road next week for the Emerald Coast Classic in Destin, Florida. Alabama will take on Ohio State in a neutral site game on Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. CT inside The Arena at Northwest Florida State College.