Shackelford, Ellis lead No. 14 Alabama past La Tech, 93-64

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Keon Ellis scored 18 points and Jaden Shackelford added 17, leading No. 14 Alabama to a 93-64 season-opening rout of Louisiana Tech on Tuesday night.

Fresh off the program’s first Southeastern Conference title in 30 years, the Crimson Tide got off to a strong start despite replacing four of its top six scorers.

Ellis was 5-of-7 shooting, including three 3-pointers, and had nine rebounds off the bench. Shackelford hit three first-half 3s and grabbed seven boards.

Top freshman recruit JD Davison came off the bench for his college debut but had a big impact in just 13 minutes. The two-time Alabama Mr. Basketball and five-star prospect had 12 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Juwan Gary had 12 points and 10 rebounds in 17 minutes.

Keaston Willis led Louisiana Tech with 16 points. Isaiah Crawford added 15, and Kenneth Lofton Jr. had 12 points and nine rebounds.

Alabama took its largest lead of the first half, 48-31, into the locker room after Ellis scored on a 3-pointer and layup in the final 42 seconds.

BIG PICTURE

Louisiana Tech: Had an off shooting night across the board. Shot 26 of 67 (39%) overall, made six of 26 3-pointers and just six of 19 free throws.

Alabama: The Tide had to replace SEC player of the year Herb Jones and NBA first-round draft pick Josh Primo this season. But the team still opened the season with high expectations, as evidenced by the program-record 6,700-plus season tickets sold. Alabama made 32 of 64 shots (50%) and dominated the boards 51-37.

HONORING RATLIFF

Before the game, Alabama honored one of its better-known fans. Luke Ratliff, the leader of the student cheering section, died in April from complications of COVID-19 days after Alabama’s season ended with a Sweet 16 loss to UCLA.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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