Alabama basketball falls to Iona in first game of ESPN Events Invitational

ORLANDO – The No. 10 Alabama men’s basketball team dropped a narrow 72-68 decision to Iona in the opening round of the ESPN Events Invitational Thursday night. The Crimson Tide held the lead throughout a majority of the contest, however, the Gaels used a 14-3 second-half run to take the lead for good.

Alabama was led on the night by Jaden Shackelford double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds, while backcourt mate Jahvon Quinerly was the only other player to reach double-digits with 15 in the loss. The Tide also struggled shooting the ball, knocking down just 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) from beyond the arc and only 13-of-25 (52.0 percent) from the charity stripe.

Team stats

— Shackelford recorded his team-leading second double-double this season (10 points and 10 rebounds vs. South Alabama).

— Alabama shot 44.6 percent from the floor (25-of-58) as Iona went 44.1 percent (26-of-59) in field goal percentage.

— The Tide pulled down 38 rebounds to lead the Gaels in the stat line who had 31.

— The back-and-forth battle saw the score tied on 10 occasions and the lead change. seven times

— Alabama led for 28:01 of the contest including all but the final four minutes of the second half, while Iona only held a lead for 7:56.

First half

Quinerly and Shackelford paced the floor, each scoring double-digits with 10 points to account for 20 of UA’s 33 first half point total.

Neither team led by more than four points throughout opening 20 minutes.

The first half saw seven ties and six lead changes.

Alabama owned a big edge on the boards in the first half, outrebounding the Gaels, 20-12.

The Tide also led in points off turnovers, scoring nine points compared to four from the Gaels.

UA shot 52 percent from the floor while holding Iona to 37.5 percent.

Second half

— Alabama was able to build its largest of the game at 46-37 with 12:27 remaining, however, Iona responded with a 10-1 run over the next nearly three minutes to draw even at 47-47.

— The Crimson Tide was able to build its lead back up and led by six, 56-50, with 7:55 remaining.

— Iona responded by outscoring the Tide, 14-3, over the next 4:23 to take a 64-59 lead.

— UA was able to draw within one on two separate occasions down the stretch, but Iona held on for the win.

Up Next

— Alabama will take on the loser of Drake and Belmont Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. CT) on ESPNU.