No. 11 Alabama tops South Dakota State despite blowing 20-point lead
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Freshman Noah Clowney’s breakout game — 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and a steal — helped No. 11 Alabama recover from blowing a 20-point lead and beat South Dakota State 78-65 on Saturday night.
Clowney shot 8 of 17, including 5 of 12 on 3s, in his highest-scoring game of the season.
Alabama (7-1) led 37-17 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half. South Dakota State (3-6) rallied to go ahead 51-50 on Alex Arians' 3-pointer with 11 1/2 minutes remaining.
Nimari Burnett's foul shot a minute later put the Crimson Tide ahead for good at 54-53. Alabama used a 9-0 run to pull away.
Mark Sears scored 19 points and Brandon Miller had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Crimson Tide
Alabama made 14 of its first 26 shots to build a big lead.
Charlie Easley and Arians each scored 17 points for the Jackrabbits. Zeke Mayo added 12 points and Matt Dentlinger contributed nine rebounds.
Sears continues to be a force at home for Alabama. In Alabama’s last three home games — wins over Liberty, Jacksonville State, and South Dakota State — he has scored 22, 18, and 19 points, making at least three 3-pointers in all three games. Alabama’s next home game comes against a Memphis team that already has two wins over SEC competition.
South Dakota State stays on the road to face Montana on Tuesday.
Alabama takes a weeklong break before its second game against the current No. 1 team in the nation, this time a road game against Houston on Saturday. The Crimson Tide beat former No. 1 North Carolina in its first shot at the top-ranked team, winning 103-101 in four overtimes on Nov. 27.
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