By Chris DePew
Nov. 10, 2017
Alabama got an expected result in an unexpected manner, overcoming four missing players and severe foul trouble to pull out an 82-70 victory over Memphis at the Veterans Classic in Annapolis, Md.
What did we learn today?: The Crimson Tide can take a punch and not flinch. As if Bama wasn’t facing enough adversity with Collin Sexton suspended and Braxton Key and Riley Norris sidelined by injuries, it piled up early fouls at an alarming rate. Memphis was in the bonus before the first media timeout and the double bonus less than eight minutes in. Alabama committed 20 of its 30 fouls in the first half and was forced to use mismatched, freshman-dominated lineups for long stretches just to survive. But the Tigers squandered a golden opportunity by only going 12-for-21 from the free throw line in the half and Bama managed to scratch out a 38-36 lead at the break.
What was the best part of the game?: Watching the light come on for John Petty. The freshman had a jittery start to his college career, picking up two very quick fouls and playing just nine scoreless minutes in the first half (which would have been even less if Avery Johnson hadn’t been desperate for warm bodies to put on the floor). But something clicked early in the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers in less than 50 seconds, one created off the dribble near the top of the key to give Alabama the lead for good and one at the elbow off an assist. He wound up with 11 points and made four of his final eight shots after starting 0-for-6.
Who was the star?: Five different players scored in double figures, but Dazon Ingram was carrying the early load when many others were struggling. He had 12 of his 20 points in the first half and went 11-for-15 at the foul line. He also added five assists and five rebounds in 33 minutes.
What were the biggest concerns?: Alabama could not adjust to officials calling a tight game on a night with little to no bench depth. The 20-9 foul disparity in the first half was eye-popping, but a fair observer would have a hard time pointing out more than one or two calls against the Tide to take issue with. Nine players saw action and seven had three or more fouls. Daniel Giddens flopped in his debut, finishing with no points, one rebound and four fouls in just five minutes. Fortunately Donta Hall stepped up (11 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks), but Bama needs more options inside, especially while Key remains out.
What’s next?: The Sexton era finally begins with Tuesday’s home opener, a 7 p.m. Central matchup against Lipscomb on the SEC Network.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris