Alabama 86, Lipscomb 64: Crimson Tide scorches nets in home opener

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By Chris DePew
TideFans.com staff
Nov. 14, 2017

scored 22 points in his college basketball debut, one of four Alabama in double figures in the Crimson Tide’s 86-64 home victory against Lipscomb.

What did we learn today?: Following years of struggling to score, the Tide suddenly has potential to light it up from all over the floor. After cracking the 80-point barrier just five times all of last season, Bama is already 2-for-2 in that department in 2017-18. Even with a four-minute drought to end the first half and a slow start out of intermission, Alabama shot a blistering 59.6 percent from the floor and could have easily threatened the 100-point mark by shooting an acceptable percentage from the foul line and cleaning up a couple of turnovers. As is, opponents can’t key on any one player without someone else stepping up to make them pay. And on this night at least, the defense didn’t suffer from the faster pace. The Bisons have all five starters back on a team that averaged 85 points per game, but couldn’t generate much offense beyond a few nice early screens to free up 3-point shooters. Garrison Matthews, who was averaging 31 points this year and 20.4 last season, was held to 15 points on 5-for-13 shooting.

What was the best part of the game?: The mix and match usage of Sexton and Dazon Ingram on the floor together. Instead of locking the freshman Sexton into the point guard slot and the veteran Ingram off the ball, Avery Johnson experimented with letting each run the offense while the other got the benefit of being set up in the offense. Particularly in the first half, Ingram was aggressively seeking to score, while Sexton got a chance to get comfortable and discover his shooting touch. Ingram had 13 points and seven rebounds, while both finished with five assists each.

Who was the star?: From the pregame warmup through the closing minutes, Sexton was a magnetic presence, yet never seemed to wilt in the spotlight. A little more selective from 3-point range than John Petty (who turned it up himself after halftime to finish with 14 points), Sexton went 3-for-5 from behind the arc and 7-for-10 from the field. And despite playing on fast forward every time he brought the ball up the floor, he had just two turnovers.

What were the biggest concerns?: Alabama missed 20 of its 32 free throw attempts, and shockingly Sexton (5-for-12) was the biggest culprit. But Ingram and Petty were a combined 1-for-5 and the frontcourt trio of Donta Hall, Daniel Giddens and Galin Smith were a combined 2-for-11. That was just part of a frustrating night for Bama’s big men, who should have been able to dominate the smaller, less athletic Bisons but didn’t. outrebounded the Tide 47-40 and only a second-half surge allowed Hall to reach 10 points. Despite being a more perimeter-oriented forward, Alex Reese came off the bench to grab a team-high nine boards in just 16 minutes.

What’s next?: The season’s biggest potential mismatch awaits Friday at 6 p.m. Central when SWAC cellar dweller Alabama A&M visits Tuscaloosa for game that will be streamed on SEC Network-Plus.

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