TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — When the game started with an alley-oop slam dunk dunk from Herbert Jones to John Petty Jr., you just knew it was going to be that kind of night for the University of Alabama men's basketball team.
The 8th-ranked Crimson Tide rolled to a 70-58 victory over in-state rival Auburn on Tuesday night inside Coleman Coliseum behind a tenacious defense effort that forced 23 turnovers, which was a season-high for the Tigers.
Alabama has now swept the season series over Auburn and hit the 20-win mark for the season, the first of the Nate Oats era. Overall, Oats is 3-1 versus coach Bruce Pearl and the Tigers since arriving at the Capstone.
From the jump, the Crimson Tide began the game by knocking down four of its first nine three-point attempts, taking a 24-10 lead with 9:13 left in the opening period.
Auburn's offense was suffocated in the first half, committing 15 turnovers and only shooting 40 percent from the field. The Tigers could never get back within single digits of Alabama and trailed at intermission 37-27.
However, in part to the Crimson Tide's ice-cold shooting to begin the second, Auburn was able to cut the deficit down to five with 8:05 remaining but a 13-2 run lead by Alabama guard Jaden Shackelford sealed the 12-point victory.
Shackelford finished with a game-high 23 points.
Alabama will close the regular season in Athens on Saturday afternoon versus the Georgia Bulldogs inside Stegeman Coliseum at 1 p.m (CT), which will be televised on CBS.
This story will be updated with quotes and analysis following Oats' press conference.