Alabama Earns Fourth-Straight Victory with a 79-69 Win at Stephen F. Austin
The Alabama men's basketball team claimed its fourth consecutive victory with a 79-69 victory at Stephen F. Austin on Sunday night at the William R. Johnson Coliseum in Nacogdoches, Texas. With the Crimson Tide win, SFA lost for just the sixth time in the last 97 home games, while Alabama picked up its first true road win of the season.
Freshman Kira Lewis Jr. scored a team-high 17 points to go along with eight assists in the contest, which was not only a season-high but was the most by an Alabama play this season. Senior Donta Hall recorded his fifth double-double of the year with 12 points and a season-best 14 rebounds to go along with three blocks. Graduate student Riley Norris was a huge contributor, finishing with season-highs of 14 points and four threes off the bench. Junior Tevin Mack added 12 points to give UA four double-digit scorers.
“I was really concerned about playing this game down here, but we thought it was the best thing for us to prepare for a tough SEC league slate,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “We’ve played in some tough environments and this was a very tough environment. We were able to build a pretty comfortable lead, but they cut into in the second half. We made some free throws down the stretch, hit some big shots and got some timely rebounds and were able to pull out a win. Riley Norris was huge for us, Donta was huge as well. When we have four or five guys scoring in double figures, we can be a pretty tough team to beat. We still have some work to do defensively, but we’ll get back to the drawing board so we are ready for our first SEC home game next Saturday afternoon."
After a back-and-forth start to the game, Alabama (9-3) settled down and found its offensive flow. The Crimson Tide slowly pulled away, taking an 11-point lead thanks to junior Dazon Ingram’s three-pointer with 1:48 left in the opening stanza. SFA (7-4) was able to make two quick baskets before the half to result in a 41-34 Crimson Tide lead at intermission.
Alabama came out firing in the second half and took its largest lead of the game at 50-38 with 16:17 left.
Stephen F. Austin answered with a 9-1 run over the next 2:44 to cut the lead to four, 58-54. However, The Crimson Tide responded with a 7-0 run of its own to take a 65-54 lead with 8:13 remaining in regulation
The ‘Jacks continued to fight as they went on a 9-2 scoring run over a span of 2:11 to cut the lead to three, 68-65, with 5:31 left in the second half. That’s when Norris provided an offensive spark off the bench. The fifth-year senior from Albertville, Ala., knocked down two big three-pointers to put the Tide up 75-67 with 2:37 remaining in the contest. Lewis would hit his last four free throws to result in the final score.
Alabama won the battle of the boards for the 11th time in 12 games this season, outrebounding SFA 47-31, including a 17-11 edge on the offensive glass which resulted in 17 second-chance points.
Alabama will return to action when it opens Southeastern Conference play on Saturday Jan. 5, when it hosts Kentucky in Coleman Coliseum. The contest will tip off at noon CT and will be televised on ESPN.
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