By Chris DePew
Nov. 18, 2018
Four different players scored in double figures as Alabama hung on for a highly entertaining 90-86 victory over Wichita State to secure fifth place in the Charleston Classic.
What did we learn today?: What life is like as one of “those” teams. You know the kind. One of those teams that glides up and down the floor effortlessly and scores at will. One of those teams that makes beautiful passes leading to open shots and made baskets. One of those teams with multiple 3-point shooters who are dangerous from anywhere on the floor. And one of those teams that doesn’t get rattled at the foul line. At least for one glorious afternoon, Alabama was finally that team. And it needed every bit of that acumen to hold off the feisty Shockers, who crashed the offensive glass to double up Bama’s second-chance scoring and all but refused to turn the ball over. Neither team played bad defense, bu both squads were so locked in that it became impossible to keep the ball out of the basket. The Crimson Tide prevailed by making nine 3-pointers, shooting 51 percent overall from the floor and making its first 20 free throws of the second half en route to a 31-for-33 day at the line.
What was the best part of the game?: Fifteen fabulous minutes from Alex Reese. Pressed into service in the first half with Donta Hall in foul trouble and Galin Smith off getting treatment after an elbow to his face, Reese responded with the best game of his college career. He took his share of 3-pointers as expected (making two of his five attempts), but also stepped inside the arc to score and draw fouls. Reese was 9-for-10 at the line and only turned the ball over once. It took the most high leverage minutes he has played this year for him to finally break through.
Who was the star?: Wichita State could match every player Bama put on the floor – except for Kira Lewis. By far the fastest man on the floor, Lewis blew by defenders to the hoop time and again, at least when he wasn’t busy drawing fouls. The freshman made two-thirds of his shots from the floor, all 11 of his free throws, never had a turnover and even added four rebounds to his team-high total of 24 points.
What were the biggest concerns?: John Petty matched Herbert Jones with 13 points, but Petty took the biggest brunt of a physical game. He led all players with 36 minutes, but came off the floor three times in the second half for a stint on the exercise bike, a brief stretching session on the treatment table in the tunnel and finally to the locker room after sprinting unaware into a hard (but legal) screen in the final seconds. A seven-day break from games may have come at the perfect time for him.
What’s next?: Turkey dinner, Iron Bowl attendance and practices are the order of the week before defending OVC champion Murray State arrives at Coleman Coliseum on Monday, Nov. 26. The game will be shown online only on SEC Network-Plus.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris
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