Javian Davis had a game-high 19 points, Jaden Shackelford added 17 points, and coach Nate Oats earned his first win for his new school as Alabama routed Florida Atlantic 78-59 on Monday night in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Davis added a game-high nine rebounds and made 6 of 10 shots from the floor. Shackelford, a freshman who had four straight 50-point games as a high school senior, sank 6 of 10 shots from the floor, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range.
Kira Lewis Jr. added 16 points and a game-high eight assists for Alabama (1-1).
Florida Atlantic (1-2) was led by junior guard Richardson Maitre, who had 18 points and a game-high four steals. However, the Owls shot just 34.8 percent from the floor, including 5-for-28 on 3-point attempts (17.9 percent).
Owls senior guard Cornelius Taylor, a transfer from Division II power Lincoln Memorial, had six points in his first start at the Division I level, making just 3 of 11 shots. He had entered the game averaging 15.0 points in two games as an Florida Atlantic reserve.
Alabama was without 6-foot-7 wing and defensive stopper Herbert Jones, who sustained an elbow injury in the Tides’ season-opening 81-80 loss to Penn on Nov. 5. That game was the junior’s 43rd career start.
The Tide also were without two forwards who are out for the season due to knee surgery — freshman Juwan Gary and junior-college transfer James Rojas. In addition, guard Jahvon Quinerly — a transfer from Villanova — has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA.
Due in part to those absences, 6-4 freshman guard Jaylen Forbes earned his first career start but was held scoreless, missing all four of his shots. He averaged 25 points last season as the No. 2 prospect in Mississippi.
Florida Atlantic led just once, 3-0 on a Maitre 3-pointer. But Alabama quickly gained control and took a 43-25 lead into halftime.
Alabama, which closed the first half on an 18-2 run, held Florida Atlantic to 29.4 percent shooting over the opening 20 minutes, including 2-for-15 on 3-point tries (13.3 percent).
The second half was more of the same as the Tide cruised to the victory. Alabama wound up outshooting Florida Atlanta 44.1 percent to 34.8 percent from the floor.
—Field Level Media