Alabama knocks off No. 4 Baylor, 87-78

Alabama knocks off No. 4 Baylor, 87-78

Tuscaloosa, AL  -  The Crimson Tide take down No. 4 Baylor today at home by a score of 87-78. They played great team defense and were led in scoring by Jahvon Quinerly with 20 points. Jeremy Sochan led Baylor with 17 points. 

Led by the No. 7 defense in the country in Adjusted Efficiency, Baylor (18-3, 6-2 Big 12) is again one of the top teams in the nation. Their three guards, LJ Cryer (out with foot injury), James Akinjo and Adam Flagler drive the offense and combine for 39.6 points and 10.9 assists per game. Freshman Kendall Brown is also having a strong season and is currently projected as a lottery pick in June’s NBA draft.

The Crimson Tide (14-7, 4-4 SEC) has been up and down. After five “Quad 1” wins they hit a rough patch in conference play, losing 4 of their last 6 contests. Junior guard Jaden Shackelford leads the team in scoring with 17.1 points per game. Freshman JD Davison is as electric as any at the guard position and also projects as a lottery pick.

In an incredible environment in Tuscaloosa in which the fans put on a “White Out,” Shackelford and Davison got started early as the Tide jumped out to an 11-3 lead. Baylor responded with some big shots of their own, taking a 19-17 lead halfway through the period. Quinerly would get hot soon after which allowed the Tide to take back the lead at 29-22.

Alabama took a 38-34 lead to the break and had 20 points in the paint in the first half alone. They did so by attacking the lane with purpose and converting at the free-throw line. Quinerly led all players with 12 points. Jeremy Sochan scored 8, while Flagler and Davison each had 7 points. 

Alabama remained in control the first few minutes of the second half as the score moved to 43-38. Quinerly and Akinjo were tagged for offsetting technical fouls at the 16:42 mark, and Baylor immediately responded with a cut and alley-oop from Matthew Mayer. By the 13:13 mark, Alabama had gotten back on track and taken a 57-42 lead, thanks to some stifling defense and big shot-making from Keon Ellis.

Things got interesting when Dale Bonner and Flagler connected on triples to cut the lead to 65-60. Shackelford hit a three-pointer with just under five minutes to go, off a beautiful inbound set as the shot clock expired, making the lead 75-66 Tide. With just under three minutes to go, JD Davison made a huge steal and dunk in transition to give Alabama a 10-point lead. 

The Tide would hold on for the 87-78 win. 

Shackelford ended with 19 points, and Davison posted 14 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in another big-time performance. Flagler added 16 points for Baylor, while Matthew Mayer scored 12 on 4 of 8 from the field.

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Baylor hosts West Virginia on Monday night.

Alabama visits No. 1 Auburn on Tuesday.

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