For the second time in his last three games, Alabama head coach Nate Oats picked up a technical foul from the officials. On Thursday, it turned into a negative for the Crimson Tide in the loss to Iona. But on Sunday night it helped spark a 15-3 run to close out the first half in the eventual win against Miami.
The Iona game’s the only one we’ve lost when I’ve gotten a T, so it seems like maybe I get them on purpose— I’ve never gotten a T on purpose," Oats said. "I just get a little too animated.”
At the time, Alabama was looking lackadaisical on both ends of the floor and trailed 23-18. Even though he claimed the technical wasn't intentional, Oats felt like his team needed some energy. He was frustrated with some no-calls on what he thought were fouls on Keon Ellis that were being called on Alabama defensively.
"I just wanted the calls to match on both ends," Oats said.
Miami sunk both free throws from the technical and scored a basket on its next possession to take a 27-18 lead. Alabama then closed the half with the 15-3 run and carried that momentum all the way into the second half where they outscored the Hurricanes 63-34 on the way to a 96-64 win.
"It was just a difference maker," said freshman guard JD Davison. "It was just like in the first game when he got a tech we were starting to get down on ourselves. But this game when coach got that tech— we got together. We talked in the huddle. We just started to play harder."
Davison had the best game of his young Crimson Tide career finishing four rebounds shy of a triple-double. The true freshman had 13 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
Oats said he wasn't sure if his technical foul really incited anything in the team, but he knew things needed to get turned around, and from that point on they did.
"I didn’t think our intensity was very high, so somehow we had to get the intensity picked up," Oats said. "I was trying to pick mine up. Maybe it should’ve been directed more at the players. Sometimes it’s not as well received. Shoot, it’s not well-received by the officials either I guess. Players saw that my intensity picked up. I think their’s picked up.”
Alabama improved to 6-1 with the win and finished in fifth place at the ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando.