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Alabama's 3-Point Shooting Opening up More on Offense

By Katie Windham,


Extra work at practice shooting the ball has led to two of Alabama's best 3-point performances of the season over the last two games, including Mark Sears and Noah Clowney breaking out of slumps.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Even though it has been shown many times that Alabama basketball does not live and die by the 3-point shot, it's still an important part of Nate Oats' offense. And if the Crimson Tide gets rolling from beyond the arc, it makes a really strong team even tougher to beat.

After losing to Oklahoma, Alabama has had two of its best shooting performances of the season against Vanderbilt and LSU. The return of Nimari Burnett from injury and emergence of freshman Rylan Griffen have been a big part of it. Burnett has shot 50 percent from deep over the last two games, and Griffen has made 60 percent of his shots in the last three games.

But another help in that department has been Mark Sears and Noah Clowney breaking out of their shooting slumps. Both players had brutal five-game stretches shooting the ball. Clowney went five straight games from Jan. 14 to Jan. 28 without making a 3-point shot, going 0-for-20. From the first Vanderbilt matchup on Jan. 17 to the second on Jan. 31, Sears went 17 percent from 3 on 24 shots.

In the 79-69 win over LSU Saturday, both shot at least 50 percent from 3. Sears had his best shooting performance since late December, going 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.

"We’ve been getting in with our coaches, our positional coaches, and we’ve just been shooting a lot of game-rep shots," Sears said. "We’ve been doing this for a few weeks now, and it really showed against LSU when our defense wasn’t at its best, but our shooting was there.”

Alabama has a reliable scorer in freshman Brandon Miller, who has scored in double-digits in every game but one this season. But Sears and Clowney have been behind Miller in scoring at second and third on the team. When they both have their shot going from deep, it opens up a whole other dimension to the Crimson Tide offense.

"I think that it was big that they both shot it well," Oats said about their performance against LSU. "They need to see the ball go in, and they both work really hard… I don't think you ever tell guys not to shoot the ball like that— to me that messes with their confidence. If you’re open, take it.”

Despite Clowney's five-game slump, he kept shooting the ball. And in Alabama's last two games, he has shot 50 percent from 3. Oats said he doesn't think the way out of a slump is by passing open looks.

"You can’t lose confidence regardless," Clowney said.

Up next for the Crimson Tide is a home game Wednesday night against a Florida team ranked top-50 in the country in 3-point defense. All four of Alabama's best 3-point shooting games this season have been at home, and it could be a key factor against a Gator team that recently took down Tennessee and nearly beat Kentucky on the road.

See also:

How to Watch: No. 3 Alabama Basketball vs. Florida

The Grind: Nick Pringle's Basketball Journey

All Things Bama Podcast — Weekend Wrap-Up: Rees, Steele, Oats Extension, Alabama-LSU

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