A deep Alabama basketball team was down a few members in Tuesday night’s exhibition game with Montevallo. Riley Norris, Javian Davis-Fleming, and Daniel Giddens all missed the game with, respectively, an illness, a sprained knee, and a sprained ankle. Freshman Diante Wood is already out for the season with a broken ankle. The missing players were not needed, as the Tide rolled by the tune of 82-40.
Bama rolled out a starting line up of Dazon Ingram, John Petty, Herbert Jones, Donta Hall, and Galin Smith. The Tide started off slow, but when Alex Reese and freshman Kira Lewis entered the game, the team took off, and built a half time lead of 39-22. Reese made an immediate impact, knocking down threes, grabbing rebounds, and dishing assists. The sophomore from Pelham appears to have lost about 30 pounds since last season. Lewis brought speed, quickness, and vision to the point guard spot. Bama was 15-25 from the field, including 4-10 from deep and 6-12 from the free throw line at the break.
The second half the Tide just imposed their will over the overmatched Eagles, outscoring the visitors by a 43-18 margin. Reese and Lewis were once again the most impressive players on the court, with healthy contributions from Hall, transfer Tevin Mack, and Jones. The shooting dropped off to 15-37 (40%) and 2-10 from deep, but free throws improved to 11-13 (85%). Coach Avery Johnson emptied the bench and played everyone including the three walk-ons, Lawson Schaffer, Tyler Barnes, and Brittion Johnson. Barnes grabbed a couple of rebounds, and had a put back basket, and Johnson drained a three from the corner.
The final statistics had the Tide shooting 30-62 (48%), 6-20 (30%) from three and 16-24, 67% from the free throw line. Montevallo was 13-50 for 26% and 2-10 from deep, while making 12-19 free throws. Alabama won the battle of the boards 43-32 and dished out 21 assists against only 10 turnovers.
Five Bama players scored in double figures with John Petty leading the way with 12, followed by Reese and Smith each with 11, and Jones and Lewis with 10 each, while Mack added seven points and three rebounds. Hall grabbed 11 rebounds followed by Petty with seven and Reese with six. Ingram dished five assists while Lewis and Reese both had three. Reese hit 3-4 from long range, while Petty was 2-8. Eight players played at least 20 minutes with Hall on the court the most with 26 minutes.
It will be interesting to see how Johnson will monitor the minutes, and what his rotation will be. It looks to be pretty clear that Hall, Jones, Reese, Lewis, Petty, and Mack need to be on the floor as much as possible.
- The ceiling for the 17-year old Lewis look limitless. Lewis, who reclassified to 2018, will not turn 18 until April and should be a senior in high school right now.
- Reese seems to have found more stamina and bounce with his new body.
- Mack is big and strong and has shown that he can score at the Power 5 level from his days at Texas.
- Smith doesn't look athletic, or smooth, but he always makes things happen. He is a big body that can bang, and has developed a nice little touch around the basket.
- Ingram is a two year starter that is better when not having to be the main ball handler, but isn't a knock down shooter either.
The Tide has good size, excellent length, and a very athletic team. Not turning the ball over, and being consistent shooting will be keys to a successful season against a tough schedule.
Bama takes to the hardcourt again on Tuesday, November 6th when they host Johnson’s alma mater, Southern, out of New Orleans. The game will be played at 7 p.m. and can be seen on the SEC Network Plus, Watch ESPN App.
Buckle Up and Roll Tide
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