The Alabama Crimson Tide dropped their first game of the Maui Invitational in Asheville, North Carolina in an 82-64 loss to the Stanford Cardinal, who were guided to the win by freshman superstar Ziaire Williams and junior captain Bryce Wills. Williams, a top-ten recruit and projected lottery pick, opened the scoring for both teams nearly two minutes in before exploding for 19 by the end of the game, and Wills took over the second half with 13 points, including three slam dunks. Alabama, led again by point guard Jahvon Quinerly's 14 points and three steals. Stanford led for almost the entire game, and will be facing off against the University of North Carolina tomorrow night in the semifinals. Alabama will play UNLV tomorrow night in another 8:30 CT tipoff.
The Tide opened up tonight's game with an early lead after Ziaire Williams made the first shot of the game, a three-pointer and the first points of his career, with Jaden Shackelford hitting a pair of free throws before a Jahvon Quinerly three-point shot. On the night, however, Alabama would finish 7-29 from behind the arc, struggling to find a rhythm between barrages of missed looks from range. The team got into early foul trouble, providing one more thing to worry about as Herb Jones, Jahvon Quinerly, and Jaden Shackelford all entering the second half with two fouls. The team saw limited offense all around, with only Shackelford's 10 points joining Quinerly in double digits. Yale graduate transfer Jordan Bruner showed flashes of his Ivy League performance in the second half, tallying 8 points and not missing a single shot from the charity stripe, and team defense led to five blocks and ten steals. As a team, Alabama shot below 36% from the floor and looks to improve upon tonight's defeat tomorrow night against a UNLV team that fell to UNC by nearly 30 points.
For Stanford, tonight's game against Alabama could be a signature win and a defining moment as the team opened up their season with an 18-point victory. Three-point shooting, rebounding, and a little bit of luck were the stories of the Cardinal's game tonight, with the team going 8-15 from downtown and beating the Crimson Tide on the glass by 17 rebounds. Stanford also managed to spread the ball around with some consistency, seeing four of its starters break into double-digits. While Stanford turned the ball over seven more times than Alabama, they never felt like a team that played out of control and their transition defense put a significant damper on any hopes that Tide fans may have had about a big run. Captain Bryce Wills put on a dunk show in the second half, slamming down three and adding to a 15-point performance on the night. Stanford will look to carry their Maui Invitational momentum to a semifinal game against UNC tomorrow night.
Alabama falls to 1-1 on the season will face UNLV tomorrow night. Alabama's third opponent in the Maui Invitational will be determined by the outcome of the Providence and Davidson matchup tomorrow.