The University of Alabama men’s basketball team will attempt to extend the momentum from a season-opening win against a more offensively prolific opponent as it hosts the Appalachian State Mountaineers in a Sunday night game at Coleman Coliseum.
The Crimson Tide rolled past Southern University 82-62 in its opener, but hardly compared to Appalachian State’s opening outburst. The Mountaineers crushed NAIA opponent Mars Hill 125-62, the most points in the nation on opening night.
“Everybody that gets off the bus for Appalachian State can make the three,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said, pointing out that eight different Mountaineer players made 3-point shots against Mars Hill. “They have a couple of inside players who don’t take many, but they also have certain lineups where everybody on the floor can handle the ball and shoot.”
Sophomore guard Justin Forrest led Appalachian State in the opener, scoring 23 points.
Alabama relied more on its inside power, particularly that of senior forward Donta Hall, to dispatch Southern.
“(Donta) realizes the clock is ticking,” Johnson said. “He wants to play basketball at a level beyond college and he has a great audience for that right now. We have some other guys that can help him on the boards— Tevin Mack, Herb Jones and Galin Smith can all rebound. So if Donta doesn’t have to carry the load on the boards, he can focus on the 12-foot shot.”
Hall is a fixture in the starting lineup, although Alabama may be without guard Dazon Ingram (ankle) for a second straight game. Johnson said on Friday that Ingram would be “a game-time decision.” Freshman Kira Lewis started in the opener and recorded six points and a team-high seven assists.
Sunday's contest is a non-bracket game of the Charleston Classic. Alabama will face Northeastern in the opening round of the eight-game tournament in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225