Alabama Men’s Basketball Captures Big Road Win with 68-62 Victory Over South Carolina
The Alabama men’s basketball team used a timely second half run and lockdown defense throughout to roll past South Carolina, 68-62, Tuesday evening in Colonial Life Arena. The Crimson Tide defense contained the Gamecock offense to just 30.8 percent shooting from the floor and just 21.1 percent (4-of-19) from beyond the arc on the night, its lowest field goal percentage and three-point percentage this season.
Freshman Kira Lewis Jr. led Alabama with 17 points and tied his career-high with five rebounds to go along with a team-leading three assists. Senior Donta Hall recorded his second-straight and SEC-leading 12th double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Tevin Mack, a native of Columbia, S.C., put on a show for his hometown crowd as he added 11 points, while graduate senior Riley Norris also contributed 11 points off the bench – all coming in the second half. Sophomore John Petty Jr. played a pivotal role despite scoring only five points, as he collected a career-high 10 rebounds and tied Lewis with a team-high three assists in the victory.
“I am proud of our guys,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “We haven’t won many games like this. We’ve had leads and relinquished leads. We haven’t been able to hit that next gear. We’ve made some adjustments in our practices and I saw a really energized team in the last five to seven minutes of the game. They were able to re-calibrate, re-focus and fortunately we were able to make some plays at the end of the game that helped us win. A lot of guys contributed in this win and I am very happy for Tevin Mack and our seniors, who showed some great leadership for us tonight. Anytime you can win on the road in the SEC is almost like two wins.”
The Crimson Tide (17-11, 8-7 SEC) led a majority of the game, owning the advantage for 34-plus minutes. However, South Carolina (14-14, 9-6) would seize the momentum midway through the second half. With Alabama leading 47-40 at the 11:20 mark, the Gamecocks, which entered the game 6-1 in home games against SEC competition, went on a 16-5 run over the next 4:49 to take a 56-52 lead with 6:21 remaining.
That’s when the Tide responded by scoring 11 of the game’s next 12 points to take a 63-57 lead with 2:19 left to play. From there, sealed the win by knocking down 5-of-6 free throws to seal the win.
Alabama jumped out to a great start by going on an 11-3 run early on to take a 14-5 advantage with over 10 minutes left in the first half. After two quick three-pointers and a basket by junior Daniel Giddens, Alabama would hold its largest lead 13, 28-15, with over three minutes in the half.
South Carolina would battle back to cut the deficit to five before a basket by Alabama at the end of the half would give the Tide a 31-25 lead at the half. Alabama held the Gamecocks to a season-low 21 percent from the field and 11 percent beyond the arc in the first half.
The Gamecocks entered the game as the top three-point shooting team in the SEC, but the Crimson Tide defense limited the Gamecocks to just 4-of-19 (21.1 percent) from beyond the arc on the night.
Alabama controlled the boards outrebounding South Carolina 43-37 on the night and held an 18-12 advantage in bench points, along with a 28-24 edge in points in the paint.
Chris Silva posted a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds to lead South Carolina.
Alabama will begin its final homestand of the season when it hosts the LSU Tigers on Saturday. The game is scheduled to tipoff at 11 a.m. CT and will be televised on ESPN. It will be Senior Day as the program will recognize the senior class prior to the contest.