Bama needs John Petty back on track for must-win showdown with Gamecocks

Filed under: Basketball,Previews |

By Chris DePew Staff
Jan. 9, 2018

Where to watch: (10-5, 1-2 SEC) at Alabama (9-6, 1-2) – Today 6 p.m. Central, Coleman Coliseum, SEC Network

Who to watch: . Perhaps the comforts of home can get the mercurial freshman back on track after a disastrous road trip. Petty was a combined 2-for-14 from the field at Vanderbilt and Georgia, finishing with five total points, one rebound and no trips to the foul line. He’ll get the chance to play his way out of the slump, since doesn’t have enough warm bodies on the bench to go around, much less the talent to push him out of the lineup. The road to salvaging a season in danger of collapsing begins with Petty getting back to being a consistent double-digit scorer.

What to watch for: Which team gets to the foul line. The Gamecocks are a shell of last year’s surprise Final Four team, but Frank Martin’s core strategy remains unchanged. South Carolina excels when it denies opponents rebounds and muscles its way to the stripe. USC barely makes two-thirds of its foul shots, but it averages 24.4 attempts per game, which usually lets it grind out enough points to win. Alabama does something very similar (24.2 attempts per game), but has made an underrated improvement in its free throw shooting the last several games. But Bama was just 8-for-11 from the line at Georgia, a symptom of a far-too-passive offense.

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