Alabama head coach Nate Oats apologized for pushing Missouri forward Aidan Shaw during an altercation in their game Tuesday.
Midway through the first half of Alabama’s 93-75 win over the Tigers at Coleman Coliseum, Alabama guard Aaron Estrada fouled Missouri’s Anthony Robinson after a rebound. Estrada and Robinson were tangled up briefly in front of the Alabama bench, but officials separated the two fairly quickly. That’s when Shaw came running in to confront Estrada.
With officials settling the situation, Oats walked right in the middle of the scuffle, pushed Shaw in the chest with one hand, pointed at the Missouri bench and yelled at him.
Oats was not penalized for his role in the incident. He said he apologized to both Missouri coach Dennis Gates and Shaw after the game.
"I have all the respect in the world for the job [Gates has] done as an assistant and head coach," Oats said after the game, via ESPN’s Jeff Borzello. "No disrespect to him or his program. I apologized to both Coach Gates and Aidan Shaw. Aidan seems like a great kid. It's an unfortunate situation, but I apologized to both of them."
The rest of the game finished normally, and Oats and Gates shook hands on the court when it ended. The Crimson Tide, who held just a two-point lead at halftime, surged ahead in the final minutes to grab the 18-point win in Tuscaloosa. Estrada finished with 21 points and eight rebounds, and Rylan Griffen dropped 21 points and shot 7-of-9 from the field.
While Gates confirmed that Oats apologized to him directly after the game, he didn’t understand why Oats wasn’t hit with a technical foul for the shove. If it was anyone else, he argued, that would've been automatic.
"Nate apologized after the game," Gates said, via ESPN. "But I just posed the question: If that was players in a huddle with a hand on an opponent, what would take place? It would be an automatic technical foul, right? I thought I saw two referees in the huddle. It wasn't a technical foul. But that's the question I would pose. If it was players making hand contact, what would take place?"
Oats is in his fifth season at Alabama, and he led the program to both an SEC regular-season and tournament title last spring. Alabama improved to 12-5 on the season with Tuesday’s win, which marked the program’s sixth straight. The Crimson Tide will take on No. 6 Tennessee on Saturday before returning home to host No. 13 Auburn next week.