Crimson Tide needs Kira Lewis to reach a higher gear vs. Rebels

Jan 8, 2019; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Kira Lewis Jr. (2) shoots over LSU Tigers forward Kavell Bigby-Williams (11) during the first half at the Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 8, 2019; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Kira Lewis Jr. (2) shoots over LSU Tigers forward Kavell Bigby-Williams (11) during the first half at the Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

By Chris DePew
TideFans.com Staff
Jan. 22, 2019

Where to watch: No. 20 Ole Miss (14-3, 4-1 SEC – #30 Pomeroy Rating) at Alabama (11-6, 2-3 – #56) – Today 8 p.m. Central, Coleman Coliseum, ESPNU

Who to watch: Kira Lewis. Somewhat predictably, Lewis’ stats have suffered since beginning conference play. In five SEC contests he’s shooting a bit over 37 percent from the floor (vs. 44.7 percent for the season) and has 14 turnovers against just nine assists. But the 17-year-old freshman hasn’t embarrassed himself, and he has a juicy opportunity against the banged-up Rebels. Point guard Devontae Shuler is trying to play through a stress fracture but was largely ineffective against Arkansas and has shot 1-for-6 from the floor each of his last two games. When he can’t go, Ole Miss has to lean on former walk-on D.C. Davis. It’s been just over a month since Lewis had a truly dominating game, and this would be a great time for an encore to help Bama pick up a crucial win.

What to watch for: Who gets to the line. The Rebels are an excellent foul shooting team (75.5 percent) but below average when it comes to drawing fouls. Conversely the Crimson Tide draws a foul from opponents on nearly a quarter of its plays and averages 24.5 free throws per game (21st nationally), but shoots an anemic 68.3 percent at the stripe. Some of that can be offset by attacking the rim with the right players (more Lewis and Donta Hall; less Herbert Jones and Tevin Mack please), but in general Bama needs to bank on getting more trips to the line so it can scrape up a respectable amount of points.

Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris

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