TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP)The rim just kept looking bigger for Alabama’s Jaden Shackelford against Richmond on Sunday night.
The freshman guard scored 28 points off the bench and Alabama beat Richmond 90-78.
“It’s easy to get in a rhythm when you got teammates and coaches who believe in you,” Shackelford said. “Once you see your shot go in, it get’s easier, and the rim gets bigger.”
Kira Lewis Jr. and John Petty Jr. each added 17 points for the Crimson Tide (7-5). Herbert Jones had 11 points and a career-high 10 rebounds for the junior’s first career double-double.
After making only 26% of their 3-pointers in the first half, the Crimson Tide made 4 of 5 from behind the arc to start the second half with makes from four different players to stretch their lead to 57-47.
Shackelford scored nine points in an 10-2 spurt that gave Alabama a 16-point lead, its biggest of the game, when he hit a 3-pointer with 10:31 to play.
A three-point play by Jacob Gilyard trimmed Richmond’s deficit to 72-67 nearly four minutes later but the Spiders got no closer.
“To win a road game at Alabama, Richmond has to shoot well. We didn’t shoot well enough. We didn’t do other things well enough either, but we would have to make shots to pull off the game,” said Richmond coach Chris Mooney.
Gilyard led Richmond (10-3) with 21 points and four assists. Grant Golden and Blake Francis scored 14 apiece for the Spiders.
Shackelford carried the Alabama offense in the first half, making four of his six 3-pointers and scoring 14 points.
“It’s nice when Shack(elford) hits six 3s, it helps the offense a little bit, but I thought we had multiple guys play well,” said Alabama coach Nate Oats.
Oats picked up his third technical foul of the season after a disagreement with the referees, and Richmond scored four points on the possession following the technical.
The Spiders cut the lead to one on their next possession, but Shackelford added his final 3-pointer of the first half to bump Alabama’s lead back up to four.
Richmond: The Spiders made just six of their 24 3-point attempts and could not keep up with the offensive attack of Alabama.
Alabama: Behind hot 3-point shooting, Alabama has won five of their last six games heading into the Southeastern Conference play.
Richmond hosts Saint Joseph’s on Thursday in the Atlantic 10 Conference opener for both teams.
Alabama opens SEC play on the road against Florida on Saturday.
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