TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – As the storm raged on the court and the offense was stifled, Alabama needed a veteran’s calm.
Delivered by Quinerly.
To say the Alabama offense struggled for most of the game would be an understatement. The Crimson Tide had just one field goal after nearly seven minutes of play and shot 33 percent from the ground in the first half.
The length of the state of Mississippi gave Alabama all sorts of problems. The Crimson Tide had nine first-half turnovers and had the lowest first-half score in the SEC game with just 29 points at halftime.
No. 2 Alabama didn’t take its first lead of the game until a Rylan Griffen left 3-pointers at 9:19 in the second half. The Crimson Tide gave back the lead briefly before starting a 15-4 run to eventually retire.
Whether directly from a shot or from an assist, Quinerly was responsible for 10 of 15 points during that run en route to a 66-63 win for Alabama over Mississippi State Wednesday night at the Coleman Coliseum.
Quinerly also finished as Alabama’s top scorer with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and just one turnover.
“He led us to goals tonight on a night where we needed goals,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said after the game. “You’ve done a great job at Brandon and Sears. We needed someone to come up and get the ball and JQ have been able to score pretty good goals for us in the past. I think we needed him tonight.”
It was the first time this season that Quinerly was Alabama’s top scorer and the first time in a game that the top scoring player came off the bench.
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Alabama’s season leader Brandon Miller had 13 points that night, but the Bulldog defense was able to effectively limit and deny him the ball for most of the game. He attempted just nine shots from the ground — his second-lowest total in conference play. Mark Sears, the Crimson Tide’s second-best scorer, had just four points in the game, all of which came from the free-throw line.
During times when offense was stagnant, Quinerly was able to get things moving.
“He was huge,” Oats said of Quinerly. “He has a certain explosiveness to get the color and makes things happen.”
The veteran point guard has now hit double digits in five of his last seven games as he has grown more comfortable on offense since returning from his ACL injury in January.
After the game, Oats highlighted that Quinerly has just one example of Alabama’s depth off the bench that helped the Crimson Tide win the game. Noah Gurley, Dom Welch, Nick Pringle and Griffen all provided key plays on both offense and defense to complete the comeback.
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