Alabama basketball overcomes season-high turnover total to defeat Rhode IslandBy Matthew Speakman | 12/06/2017 11:12pm
Freshman guard John Petty was one of five Alabama players to score in double figures.
It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.
Alabama basketball certainly didn’t put on performance that would turn heads anyone by any means, but still walked away with a 68-64 win.
Alabama had a season-high 24 turnovers that led to 26 points for Rhode Island. Still, Alabama narrowly escaped with a win over a tough team.
“Whenever you get the point of no return, move the ball,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said of fixing turnover problems. “It’s just that simple, because there’s always going to be a point of no return.”
Alabama’s defense came to play tonight. Johnson has emphasized how much the team needs to improve in that area, and showed flashes just that. The Crimson Tide held Rhode Island to just 25 percent shooting in the first half, and 35 percent overall.
“(You saw) a team that was looking like they had six or seven defenders on the court,” Johnson said. “When we’re on defense we always look like we only have two guys on defense. Now, you saw a team that scrambled and covered for each other.”
Junior forward Daniel Giddens had his best game since the Crimson Tide’s exhibition win over UAH. Giddens posted 12 points and six rebounds. He also had two blocks, including an impressive chase-down effort from behind.
The biggest stat for Giddens was his fouls, or lack thereof. Giddens has been in foul trouble early for Alabama multiple times this season. Tonight, he was able to stay on the court by only picking up two for the game.
“Staying out of foul trouble, that’s the biggest thing for me, honestly,” Giddens said. “I knew what I was capable doing on the post not only this game, but throughout the season. Definitely just having the confidence of my teammates to throw the ball in the post was a big deal."
Giddens has come a long way since he first got to Alabama. One big area he’s improved on is his patience when he catches the ball inside.
“You threw him the ball on the post, he would go in 0.5 seconds to try and score without even recognizing what was happening with the defense,” Johnson said. “You saw patience, you saw poise (tonight).”
Alabama spread the wealth when it came to scoring. Five Alabama players scored in double figures. Dazon Ingram and Donta Hall both had double doubles. Ingram finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds, while Hall had 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Those two players picked up the slack when freshman guard Collin Sexton left the game with an eye injury late in the first half. Ingram, especially, came up big by hitting 5-of-6 free throws to end the game.
“When one player goes down, everyone has to step up,” Petty said. “He just went out with an injury, so we just kept the intensity we had when he out, and just kept pushing it until he came back.
Alabama will travel next to take on Arizona, who started the season in the top five, but has since fallen out of the top 25. That game will tipoff 9 p.m. CT on Saturday. It will be televised on ESPN 2.