Alabama turns to hometown heroes for Rocket City Classic

Dec 9, 2018; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide forward Alex Reese (3) grabs a rebound against Arizona Wildcats guard Emmanuel Akot (24) during the second half at Coleman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 9, 2018; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide forward Alex Reese (3) grabs a rebound against Arizona Wildcats guard Emmanuel Akot (24) during the second half at Coleman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

By Chris DePew
TideFans.com Staff
Dec. 18, 2018

Where to watch: Liberty (9-2 – #85 Pomeroy Rating) vs. Alabama (6-3 – #74) – Today 7 p.m. Central, Von Braun Center (Huntsville), SEC Network-Plus (online only)

Who to watch: Alex Reese. The sophomore from Pelham has been borderline electric at times over the past five games, averaging 13.2 points and providing a 3-point threat combined with an improved post-up game that has defenders off balance.

In last week’s win over Arizona, Reese had 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes off the bench. Every time he’s gotten extended playing time this season he has delivered as a secondary scorer at worst, not to mention his steady nerves at the foul line.

What to watch for: Hometown boys making good. This is the third edition of the Rocket City Classic and it is no accident that Alabama booked another trip to the VBC even as it let the annual trip to Birmingham slide off the books.

The Tennessee Valley has become the new epicenter for in-state talent, and up to three of those stars could be on display against Liberty. Last year it was John Petty (Mae Jemison-Huntsville) draining four 3-pointers as the Crimson Tide escaped Mercer.

Two years ago Riley Norris (Albertville) had eight points and nine rebounds to help Bama pull away from Arkansas State. This year they will be joined by freshman Kira Lewis (Hazel Green), already Alabama’s leading scorer at 15.4 points per game and averaging just under 20 in his last five. The Tide will need every point it can muster, since the Flames have yet to score less than 70 points this season.

Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris

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