SAN DIEGO - The sixth-seeded Alabama men's basketball team's season came to a close in the NCAA Tournament First Round Friday, as the Crimson Tide fell to No. 11 seed Notre Dame 78-64 at Viejas Arena.
Keon Ellis led the Crimson Tide (19-14) in the loss with 16 points, nine rebounds and two steals in 39 minutes of action. Jaden Shackelford had 13 points and three steals while JD Davison posted 11 points and nine assists.
Alabama was forced to play a majority of the contest without starting point guard Jahvon Quinerly, who injured his left knee a little more than three minutes into the contest. He was the team's second-leading scorer (14.3 ppg) and led UA in assists per game (4.2) entering the contest.
Cormac Ryan paced Notre Dame with 29 points and six rebounds while Blake Wesley posted 18 points and three steals.
Head Coach Nate Oats Postgame Comments
"Tough loss. I mean, you've gotta give Notre Dame a lot of credit to play in a play-in game and go double overtime, fly in here as late as they did, play with one-day rest and give the energy they gave. It shows they've got some veteran, mature guys that can execute a game plan off a day prep. I saw a stat in one of their games, I think they four or five 1,000 scorers. We've got one on our team. We talk in college about veteran college players. I think it showed today. I feel for Jahvon. I don't know exactly what it is, but it's a significant knee injury. I thought he was ready to play, and three minutes into the game he gets the knee injury, can't play the rest of the game. Life happens. Adversity hits and you've got to face it. I thought JD played well in his 36 minutes. A good game for a freshman in an NCAA Tournament. We couldn't make shots. They made shots. Obviously, Cormac going 7-of-9 from 3 was a huge factor in the game. He had 29 points. He's obviously really good and we didn't play well enough to win."
- Notre Dame used an 11-3 second half run to turn a 44-42 lead into a 55-44 advantage at the under 12 media timeout
- The Irish would lead by as many as 16 points (76-60) with 1:24 to play
- Despite the loss, Alabama led in bench points, 27-10
- With his 10 three-point attempts, Jaden Shackelford became the program's single-season record holder for threes attempted in a season (288) while also finishing second in the UA annals in threes made for a year (101)
- After a slow opening five minutes, Alabama and Notre Dame traded points with the Irish holding a slight advantage
- A dunk by Charles Bediako opened an 8-0 run by the Tide, which included threes from Ellis and Davison, which gave UA a 25-21 lead at the 6:58 mark
- The Irish would tie the game at 25-25 (5:21), marking the first of three ties and five lead changes over the final few minutes of the half, before ND found a 9-3 spurt to take a 41-36 into the break
- In all, the first half featured seven ties and 11 lead changes
- Shackelford led the team with eight points as Juwan Gary added seven points and Ellis added six points and five rebounds
- Davison sparked the Tide's offense scoring six straight points to move UA within one possession 44-42 (17:57)
- Including the 11-2 run, Notre Dame would outscore Alabama 17-5 over the next 8:36 to take a 61-47 lead with 8:18 on the clock
- Alabama battled back using an 11-5 run to close the gap to eight, 66-58, with 4:38 remaining
- That's as close as the Tide would get as Notre Dame held a 12-6 advantage over the final minutes of the game for the win
- Ellis paced the team with 10 points and four rebounds
- Alabama shot 12-of-32 from the floor and hit just 3-of-13 from distance