Alabama Basketball: Crimson Tide gets important win over Arizona


Already in December, Alabama basketball needs key wins to build an NCAA Tournament resume. The Tide got one Sunday over Arizona.

For any Alabama basketball fans who are unaware, Arizona this season is not a typical Wildcats team. Broad attrition, some driven by a reputation tarnished by the FBI probe, has Zona in a rebuilding mode.

Still, the name carries residual stature. After a disappointing loss to UCF and an embarrassing loss to Georgia State, Alabama basketball was in dire need of a win.

The Crimson Tide got the needed win, in many ways despite itself. At 7:05 remaining in the first half, Tevin Mack made a three, pushing the Tide lead to 19 points. By halftime, the lead was down to nine. With 10:27 left in the second half, former Alabama basketball player, Justin Coleman scored to give the Wildcats at one point lead.

The Wildcats did not hold the lead long. Down the stretch, Donta Hall, Kira Lewis, Alex Reese and John Petty made big plays to secure the 76-73 win.

Bright spots for Alabama Basketball

  • Donta Hall – In scoring 13 points, Donta was 7-9 from the foul line. He also pulled down nine rebounds.
  • Alex Reese continues to improve. On just nine shots and three free throws, he scored 15 points. He added eight rebounds and three assists.
  • Kira Lewis Jr. is already the Tide’s most clutch player. He scored five of his total 20 points in the game’s last 13 seconds.
  • John Petty has improved his game. Petty is still wildly inconsistent shooting, but he has more game this season. Key to Sunday’s win were his six rebounds, four assists and a big late steal.

Big problems for Alabama Basketball

  • Take away the shooting of Lewis and Reese and the Crimson Tide has no dependable jump shooters. Petty (1-8 Sunday) is feast or famine. Herbert Jones is a serious offensive liability. Tevin Mack shows shooting ability, but questionable shot selection.
  • There is little bench depth. Avery played nine players against Arizona. Playing nine is far better than 10 or more. The problem on Sunday is only seven made significant contributions. That seven includes Herbert Jones for his defensive play, despite his zero points.
  • Again free throw shooting was atrocious. The Tide was 16-28, for only 57.1 percent. Fortunately, Arizona only shot nine free throws or the game would have been another Tide loss – from the charity stripe.

What’s Next?

Literally, next is a game with Liberty in Huntsville. The Flames are not pushovers. Beyond the next game, as Alabama basketball approaches SEC play, it must keep winning. The SEC schedule is so demanding, another NCAA bid will be at least as much struggle as last season.

Many Alabama basketball fans have unbuckled. Confidence in Avery Johnson is at an all-time low. The program should be on a more solid footing in his fourth season. The Tide needs to win at least four of the next six games from Liberty to TAMU in mid-January.

Next. Tua was groomed for more than a Heisman. dark

If the Arizona rebuild pays off quickly, Sunday’s win could become a huge boost for the Crimson Tide. Right now, any win is a good win.