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Alabama 83, Stetson 60: Crimson Tide goes back to running roots

By Chris DePew
.com Staff
Dec. 29,

ended non-conference play the same way it began – by squeezing the life out of an overmatched visitor to Coleman Coliseum. This time it was Stetson falling 83-60.

What did we learn today?: Coach Avery Johnson is showing hints of coming back around to the fast-paced transition game he promised to bring to Tuscaloosa. Beginning last week against Arkansas and continuing against the Hatters, the Crimson made a concerted effort to race down the court after grabbing rebounds and to capitalize quickly on live ball turnovers. Bama was rewarded with 12 fast break points and 17 points off turnovers, and the easy baskets helped goose its shooting percentage up to near 48 percent. It remains an open question whether will shelve the transition game in league play, but it may have to stick with it just to keep pace. In five league games Thursday, six teams broke the 80-point barrier and three had 96 or more.

What was the best part of the game?: Seeing Riley Norris break out of an extended slump. A streaky shooter at best, the junior from Albertville was overdue for a hot streak. His 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting (including critically 3-for-6 from behind the arc) led four Bama players in double figures. Bola Olaniyan’s 13 rebounds (eight offensive) punctuated the ’s domination on the glass and gave Bama the extra chances it needed to ring up its highest score of the season.

Who was the star?: It took a dozen games, but finally got its first double-double thanks to Dazon Ingram. The freshman from Theodore scored most of his 16 points in the first 25 minutes to ice the game away and also came up with 10 rebounds and four assists.

What were the biggest concerns?: Twelve first-half turnovers produced plenty of heartburn for Johnson, especially since they seemed to be caused more by carelessness than any pressure from Stetson. The Hatters also exposed Bama’s leaky perimeter in the first half, going 5-for-13 from 3-point range over the first 20 minutes. Either issue could create problems in the SEC. Both at the same time would be nearly fatal to any chances of victory.

What’s next?: League play begins with a Tuesday visit to State. Tipoff on the is set for 7:30 p.m. Central.

Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris

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