BIRMINGHAM — Alabama basketball fell to Davidson 79-78 in the C.M. Newton Classic on Tuesday at Legacy Arena in the BJCC.
No. 11 Alabama (9-3) tied the game with a little over six minutes to go but couldn’t keep up, letting Davidson (9-2) retake and extend the lead until the Crimson Tide got within two with 16 seconds left.
Alabama's comeback fell short as Jahvon Quinerly missed his second free throw with three seconds left.
"It's good to know that they don't have quit," Alabama coach Nate Oats said. "That they'll keep fighting. Takes some maturity to play that hard the whole game though. I do think they have some fight ... we played a lot harder when we got down. If you play that hard when your down why isn't there when the game starts."
The Crimson Tide was led by Jaden Shackelford with 20 points. Juwan Gary scored 15 and added eight rebounds. Quinerly scored 13 points with six assists.
The classic honors former Crimson Tide basketball coach C.M. Newton who in 12 seasons went 211-123 and won three SEC regular-season championships. He helped integrate Alabama basketball by bringing in Wendell Hudson, the first Black scholarship athlete in any sport at Alabama.
Alabama second-half run
After slowing an 18-4 Davidson run to bookend halftime, the Crimson Tide offense started to wake up and started a run that tied the game before allowing the Wildcats to retake the lead. Most of the intensity issues that plagued Alabama for the first 35 minutes were not solved but merely mitigated.
"Everyone just felt the fire," Noah Gurley said about what changed during the runs. "The second half, the games ending, that's when you want to tighten up and play harder. When you do that from the jump you won't be in that situation."
Strong defensive start into breakdowns
The Crimson Tide forced the Wildcats to start 3-for-11 from the field before Davidson went on a 16-0 run. Davidson used five straight 3-pointers to take the lead while stifling Alabama offensively and on rebounds. Before the run, Alabama was leading the rebounding battle 10-5.
"I think some of our guys are letting their offensive struggles at times dictate their effort on defense," Oats said. "We showed that we can get stops and go on some runs ... I think we got the personnel to get the mindset corrected, we can be a good defensive team. I just don't think the mindset is there right now."
Davidson came into the game as the fourth-best 3-point shooting team in the nation making 41.59% of its shots. That didn’t change during the game as it went 16-for-29 on 3-point attempts. Alabama went 18-for-39 on 3-pointers, coming into the game shooting 33.75%.
Alabama will start SEC play with a home game against Tennessee on Dec. 29 (8 p.m. CT, ESPN2).
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: How No. 11 Alabama basketball lost to Davidson in C.M. Newton Classic