Alabama 79, Ball State 61: Bounceback performances power Tide blowout

2018 Men's Basketball - Charleston Classic
2018 Men’s Basketball – Charleston Classic

By Chris DePew
TideFans.com Staff
Nov. 16, 2018

Alabama looked far sharper on the second day of the Charleston Classic, shooting better than 50 percent and holding Ball State in check all afternoon for a 79-61 consolation round victory.

What did we learn today?: Less is more when it comes to distributing playing time. Until a parade of walk-ons hit the floor in the final minute, Bama essentially used a seven-man rotation to mow down the Cardinals. Tevin Mack and Dazon Ingram again came off the bench but instead of constantly shuffling in and out they had time to settle in and get into the flow of the game, playing 23 and 26 points respectively. The duo combined for all 31 of the Crimson Tide’s bench points and both were 50 percent or better shooters from the floor.

By contrast, Avery Johnson Jr. played just 11 minutes, Alex Reese only appeared at the tail end of each half and Daniel Giddens got no floor time. The rotation usually doesn’t get whittled down so drastically in November, but the move underscored the urgency of responding after a bad loss to Northeastern.

What was the best part of the game?: Complete performances from Mack and Herbert Jones. Back in his home state of South Carolina, Mack finally showed the scoring touch that made him a prized transfer recruit.

Back-to-back 3-pointers to start the afternoon bought him some time to stay in despite missing his last four shots of the first half. But Mack rewarded that patience by reigniting after the break, finishing with 20 points and a 5-for-9 showing behind the arc. Jones played with offensive confidence for the first time in the early season, scoring 13 points and adding three of Bama’s 22 assists. He also grabbed three rebounds and took three charges before fouling out late.

Who was the star?: Donta Hall left Ball State intimidated even before he started swatting shots or attacking the glass. The Cardinals wound up altering shots and turning down inside looks, leaving them struggling for answers on offense. Hall rediscovered his own offense after going scoreless the day before, racking up 12 points to go with 12 rebounds and doing most of his damage in the first half when the game was still at least mildly in doubt.

What were the biggest concerns?: The way the offense flowed so well and John Petty distributed the ball (seven assists) it seems like overkill to fret of his 3-for-10 shooting. Still, Bama’s odds of winning are much better when he is dialed in.

Turnovers were in an acceptable range at 14, but still creeping up compared to the last two games. Petty and Kira Lewis combined for half that total, which isn’t what you want to see from two of the better ball handlers.

What’s next?: After a day off, the Tide wraps up its Charleston trip with a fifth-place against either Wichita State or Appalachian State. Tipoff on ESPNU is at approximately 12:30 p.m. Central.

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