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A look inside Coleman Coliseum before Alabama's men's basketball season opener against Louisiana Tech on Nov. 9, 2021. (Mike Rodak/AL.com)
Alabama men’s basketball opened its season Tuesday night in Coleman Coliseum by hosting Louisiana Tech.
The Tide, ranked No. 14 in the preseason AP poll and No. 13 in the coaches poll, was picked to finish second in the SEC. The Bulldogs were picked to finish second in Conference USA behind UAB.
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Here were live updates as the game progressed:
Alabama 93, Louisiana Tech 64 (final): The still-packed student section implored Nate Oats to insert walk-on Tyler Barnes into the game in the final two minutes, and Oats obliged. Barnes then scored four points, including a buzzer-beating final shot.
Alabama 84, Louisiana Tech 57 (3:53): Darius Miles is now 3-of-3 on three-pointers, part of a 12-of-28 night for Alabama beyond the arc. We’re close to seeing walk-ons in Coleman Coliseum.
Alabama 71, Louisiana Tech 52 (7:20): Alabama has missed its last three shots, all three-pointers, and still has its top group on the floor trying to close this one out. Graduate transfer Noah Gurley turned it over before the timeout, his third of the night to go along with zero points on five shots, one rebound and four fouls.
Alabama 66, Louisiana Tech 46 (11:15): Alabama is close to putting this one away, out-rebounding Louisiana Tech, 36-24, while shooting over 45 percent from three-point range. Jaden Shackelford and Keon Ellis are a combined 7-of-12 from beyond the arc and have accounted for 33 points. It has been a quieter night from Jahvon Quinerly, who has seven points, two assists and two turnovers.
Alabama 56, Louisiana Tech 39 (14:53): Forward Juwan Gary has provided a spark for Alabama off the bench tonight, scoring 12 points and grabbing nine rebounds — both tied for team highs and career highs for Gary. Alabama has turned it over four times in the first five minutes of the second half, preventing them from putting this away quite yet.
Alabama 54, Louisiana Tech 37 (16:54): Louisiana Tech began the second half on a 6-1 run, which included Tide center Charles Bediako picking up his fourth foul. But a Keon Ellis three-pointer and a Juwan Gary put-back returned the Tide’s lead to 17 and forced a Bulldogs timeout.
Alabama 48, Louisiana Tech 31 (halftime): Alabama hit five of its final eight three-pointers of the first half to maintain its lead. Five different Tide players have connected from beyond the arc, including three from Jaden Shackelford and two from Keon Ellis.
Alabama 40, Louisiana Tech 27 (2:38): Alabama twice opened a 15-point lead, the first coming after back-to-back three pointers by Jaden Shackelford, but two baskets allowed at the rim caused Nate Oats to call a timeout. Shackelford is up to a team-high 12 points.
Alabama 32, Louisiana Tech 21 (4:53): Alabama opened a game-high 11-point lead, resulting in Louisiana Tech calling a timeout and the crowd rising. Free throws have played a role in the Tide’s 16-5 run, with Louisiana Tech shooting 1-of-6, including 1-of-5 from Kenneth Lofton, and Alabama itself only 2-of-5.
Alabama 27, Louisiana Tech 18 (7:32): Alabama is on an 11-2 run, with Louisiana Tech having missed six of its past seven baskets. JD Davison has energized the crowd with a dunk and a three-pointer in front of the packed student section, and has a team-high six points in seven minutes played.
Alabama 20, Louisiana Tech 16 (11:53): Sophomore Darius Miles, the eighth player to check into the game for Alabama, drained a three-pointer after the Tide had missed five of its previous six. Alabama is out-rebounding Louisiana Tech, 12-5, but giving up some first-chance baskets to Bulldogs big man Kenneth Lofton, Jr. He has six points, and Louisiana Tech is shooting 50 percent.
Alabama 12, Louisiana Tech 6 (15:30): It has been a sharper shooting game for the Tide than the exhibition, with Jaden Shackelford and Keon Ellis connecting on early three-pointers. Freshman 7-footer Charles Bediako also made his presence known with two early offensive rebounds before a basket, as well as a tip on the defensive end that resulted in an Alabama rebound.
Alabama students are packed all the way up into the corner of Coleman Coliseum just before tip off against Louisiana Tech. pic.twitter.com/hxM54t6R0t
— Alabama’s starting lineup: Jahvon Quinerly, Jaden Shackelford, Keon Ellis, Noah Gurley and Charles Bediako. That means five-star freshman JD Davison will come off the bench in his first game with Alabama.
— The student section of Coleman Coliseum was largely full an hour before tip off. There are seats reserved in front for a ceremony honoring the late Luke Ratliff. A plaque in his memory will be unveiled on a front-row seat in the section, and the new leader of the Crimson Chaos will be presented with a plaid jacket. Ratliff’s family is in town from North Carolina.
— There are nine NBA scouts with seats on press row for tonight’s game. One of the main attractions is Tide freshman JD Davison, who was projected as the No. 15 overall pick in next summer’s draft by CBS Sports and No. 19 by Bleacher Report in mock drafts published Tuesday.
— Alabama women’s basketball beat Charleston Southern, 109-32, in the first game of a doubleheader in Coleman Coliseum.
Mike Rodak is an Alabama beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @mikerodak.
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