Number 24 Alabama opened the basketball season in Coleman Coliseum Monday night, rolling over Morehead State 105-73.
It didn’t take last year’s SEC champions long to pick up where they left off last season. Just seven seconds into the game, Aaron Estrada drained a 3-pointer, setting the tone of the game early.
Here are a few takeaways from Alabama’s season opener:
New Guys Show Out
In the offseason, Nate Oats brought in a couple of big transfers in forward Grant Nelson and guard Aaron Estrada. Both guys lived up to their expectations Monday night, having already seamlessly picked up Alabama’s fast-paced offensive style of play. Estrada started the game with a 3-pointer seven seconds into the game and continued to stay hot. Estrada finished with 16 points, three assists, three rebounds and two steals. Grant Nelson was the star of the night, leading all scorers with 24 points. Nelson also led the Crimson Tide in rebounds with seven.
In a preseason scrimmage against TCU, Alabama started slow and found themselves in an early deficit. Oats stressed the importance of starting fast, and his team responded. Alabama opened up the game on a 9-0 run and never looked back.
Plenty of Depth
A total of 11 Crimson Tide players logged 10 or more minutes Monday night. Alabama spread the ball around, with 12 of the 13 Alabama players stepping on the floor and scoring at least two points. With Alabama only returning three members from last year’s SEC championship team, Oats utilized this game to try out different lineup combinations.
Grant Nelson Is the Real Deal
Grant Nelson transferred to Tuscaloosa from North Dakota State, and he appears to be ready for SEC basketball. Nelson, at 6-foot-11, can play inside and has the versatility to stretch the floor and guard anyone on the floor. Nelson led Alabama in points with 24 and rebounds with seven. Nelson hit all eight free throw attempts and went 2-of-4 on three-pointers. The highlight of his night came on a high-flying dunk over a Morehead State defender in the second half.
Alabama will face Indiana State at 7 p.m. Friday at Coleman Coliseum.
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