I hope you are buckled up, because this Alabama basketball team knows one speed, wide open. In front of an enthusiatic crowd on Friday night, the hot shot freshman duo of Collin Sexton and John Petty put on a show not seen since the days of James “Hollywood”Robinson and Latrell Sprewell. Sexton electrified the crowd in the first half with 18 points (finishing with 25), including a buzzer beating half court shot. Petty had 15 in the first half, and finished with 30 on 10 made three point shots, which set an Alabama single game record. Together the two combined for 55 points, shooting 21-29, eight rebonds, and six assists, leading thr Tide to a 104-67 victory over Alabama A&M.
The Tide jumped out 10-0 to start the game, and were never challenged by the over matched Bulldogs. ‘Bama went to intermission with a 51-22 lead after Sexton nailed a shot from half-court as time expired. The team shot 19-30 in the first half including 9-14 from deep. The free throw line contines to be a problem, with a 4-8 showing before the break. The Tide held a 26-10 margin on the boards and dished out 12 assists.
In the second half, the Tide systmaticaly destroyed the visitors from Huntsville with a barrage of three pointers, with fan favorite Lawson Schaffer and seldom used walk-on Landon Fuller both hitting from beyond the arc. Petty finished with 30, Sexton with 25, and Dazon Ingram joined them in double figures with 10. Sexton added four rebounds and five assits with no turnovers. Ingram continues to fill the stat sheet, adding six rebounds and four assists. All of Petty’s points, and field goal attempts came from deep, as he made 10 of 13 attempts, and added four assists. Freshman Alex Reese continues to impress on the boards, grabbing eight to go with nine points. Herbert Jones tied for the rebounding lead with eight of his own, and added seven points. Donta Hall chipped in eight points and six rebounds in 17 minutes of action. Schaffer scored three points and dropped off four assits in nine minutes of action.
The Tide shot 64% from the field and an exiciting 60% (16-27) from three point distance. Free throws remain a weak link, with an 8-15 night. For the game ‘Bama grabbed 47 rebounds to only 23 for the much smaller Bulldogs.
Realize that Alabama is missing their best player from last year, Braxton Key, and “glue guy” Riley Norris still. When those two get back the depth of this team will be unprecedented in Tuscaloosa. At times coach Avery Johnson had all five of his prize freshman, Sexton, Petty, Jones, Reese, and Galin Smith on the court at the same time. Sexton is a generational talent and Petty is not far behind. Petty is the best shooter in these parts in.......forever? Robinson ?, Adams?, Lee?, Farmer.?, Sprewel?, Horry?, name your favorite and Petty will match up against any of them. Sexton is a more talented version of anyone that has ever put on the Crimson and White, and is being touted as being a top 10 NBA draft pick after his only season in Tuscaloosa.
Coach Johnson has been using Hall and Daniel Giddens in the starting lineup as a big team. When Key is back he should move into the starting lineup, replacing Giddens, making the Tide more athletic. Giddens, Reese, and Smith would give ‘Bama three bigs off the bench, a luxury they haven’t had in a while. Norris is a senior leader that can do a little bit of everything, and will most likely spell Key when both are healthy. It will almost be an embarasment of riches.
This is an young, athletic, fast, exciting team that will definitley keep the crowd entertained. They seem to have great chemistry and dont seem to care who gets points. As the competion gets tougher I’m sure some warts will show, but the Tide seems to have the attitude, and talent, to overcome trouble.
The Tide has a home game Tuesday at 8p.m. against UT Arlington. The game will be shown on the SEC Network. After that they will travel to Brooklyn to take on BYU on Friday, the 24th at 1:30 p.m. and Minnesota on Saturday at 4 p.m., when a little football game will be going on in West Georgia.
Be sure to Buckle Up, and Roll Tide
follow @rogerpatmyers for live, in game updates