Alabama basketball cruised to a season-opening win Tuesday night, defeating Southern University 82-62 in Coleman Coliseum.
Alabama basketball coach, Avery Johnson might have wanted to save his alma mater any embarrassment but the Tide was too big and too good for the Southern University Jaguars. The only team stats won by the Jaguars were steals and turnovers with the Crimson Tide coughing the ball up 20 times.
Otherwise, it was all Crimson Tide. Donta Hall led the Tide in scoring with 20 points on 8-for-9 shooting. Taking nothing away from Donta, Southern did not have the size to defend him. John Petty scored 17 points, with 5-of-8 from outside the arc. Galin Smith and Tevin Mack had 10 points each. Alex Reese and Herbert Jones added eight points each.
With Dazon Ingram unavailable due to an ankle injury, freshman Kira Lewis started at point guard. Lewis looked good handling the ball and controlling its distribution. He finished with six points and an impressive seven assists.
Transfer guard/forward, Tevin Mack struggled most of the game despite scoring 10 points. Mack appeared to be either unsure or uncomfortable with his role in the offense. He committed five of the Tide’s 20 turnovers and shot only 25 percent for the game, including a frigid 1-for-7 shooting threes. Mack did contribute six rebounds. The leading rebounder for Alabama basketball was Herbert Jones with nine boards.
Alabama basketball is a long way from being a polished team. Petty appears to have improved. Kira Lewis shows significant potential. Hall and Herbert Jones can be two of the top players in the SEC. Getting Mack integrated into the offensive flow must be a priority in the next couple of games.
Our goal is for every single player on the floor, all five guys, to be a threat offensively. We did what we had to do last year to get where we needed to go. But we want all five of our guys to be a threat (this season), where the defense doesn’t really know where we’re going.
Accomplishing Avery’s plan requires on-court chemistry, precise ball movement and good shot selection. Lewis certainly looks to have the skills to facilitate such an offensive approach. It is unclear if the older, more experienced guards can consistently lead such a varied offense. The early schedule is not easy and the 2018-19 team could well be a work-in-progress for a couple of months.
Next up for Alabama basketball is Appalachian State on Sunday. That game is followed by a series of games in the Charleston Classic, beginning with a good Northeastern team.