Bama Can’t Overcome Jahvon Quinerly Injury, Or Make Rim Shots In Loss To Notre Dame

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No. 6 seed Alabama was a team without a quarterback for virtually the entire game because of an injury to point guard Jahvon Quinerly in the opening minutes, and the Tide never recovered.

Alabama fell 78-64 to No. 11 seed Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament West Region first round in San Diego on Friday afternoon.

Quinerly injured his knee just three minutes into the game when Alabama trailed 3-2. Quinerly’s left knee buckled on a drive to the basket, and he writhed in pain and moaned loudly on the floor for several minutes before being helped off. He never returned.

“They’re a different team when Quinerly goes down,” Notre Dame coach Mike Bray said. “It looked bad, and I feel for him. He’s a heck of a guard.”

The junior entered the game averaging 14 points and 4.2 assists a game. Alabama (19-14) stayed close for much of the first half and led at times, but Notre Dame (24-10) took a 41-36 lead at the half.

Alabama regrouped and stayed close early in the second half, cutting Notre Dame’s lead to 44-42 at the 16-minute mark. But the Irish eventually pulled away and went up by 52-42 with 12:45 remaining and opened up its largest lead at 61-47 with 9:24 to go before coasting.

“I feel for Jahvon,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “Don’t know exactly what it is, but some significant knee injury.”

Senior guard Keon Ellis led Alabama with 16 points and nine rebounds. Guard Jaden Shackelford scored 13 with seven rebounds, but he was clearly not the same without Quinerly creating and dishing to him. Forward Juwan Gary scored 10 points with four rebounds and three blocked shots off the bench.

Junior guard Cormac Ryan led Notre Dame with 29 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including 7 of 9 from 3-point range along with six rebounds.

The Tide missed at least 11 rim shots from point blank range in the second half and finished 26 of 64 from the field for 40 percent. Alabama hit just 8 of 24 from 3-point range for 33 percent.

Notre Dame shot better, hitting 29 of 54 for 53 percent and 10 of 16 from 3-point range for 62.5 percent. It also hit 10 of 11 free throws. Alabama shot just seven free throws, making four.

Alabama’s up-and-down season ended after reaching back-to-back NCAA Tournaments for the first time in 15 years.

Notre Dame advances to play on Sunday against No. 3 seed Texas Tech (26-9), which defeated No. 14 seed Montana State, 97-62.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

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