The University of Alabama men’s basketball team, short-handed due to injuries to three key players, regrouped for an 81-71 victory over Ottawa University on Thursday night to finish its three-game Canadian exhibition tour with a 2-1 record.
Avery Johnson Jr. led six Alabama scorers in double figures, scoring 15 points as he played the majority of minutes at point guard with both Dazon Ingram and Collin Sexton on the sidelines. Ingram (foot), Sexton (knee) and freshman forward Herb Jones (concussion) were all held out for what head coach Avery Johnson said were “precautionary reasons.”
Alabama trailed 23-18 after the first quarter but rallied for a 40-34 halftime lead and held off several Ottawa surges in the second half.
“For a team that’s just played three games in four nights,” Johnson said, “I thought we gave an outstanding effort, especially in the second half. We were able to get our defense set, guys made the extra pass and we did a great job on the boards. Thankfully, we were able to close it out.”
Alabama outrebounded the Gee Gees 54-45 in the game despite using different lineups due to the player absences.
In addition to Johnson’s 15 points, Alabama had a 12-point, nine-rebound effort from sophomore Braxton Key. Junior center Donta Hall scored 11 points,making all five shots he attempted from the floor, and added eight rebounds. Freshman John Petty — the only player to score in double figures in all three Canadian games — also had 11 points and eight rebounds. Riley Norris scored 13 points and Ar’Mond Davis scored 10 in bench roles.
“We wanted to take a look at different rotations because we had a lot of different guys playing tonight,” Johnson said. “We have a lot of young players and they all got their share of minutes. We looked at a lot of different combinations and I like the different combinations we can utilize this year – we can go big, we can go small or we can spread the floor. We had a chance to look at multiple defenses, so from a video standpoint, we’ve got a lot that we are able to analyze.
“The main thing we wanted when we decided to come to Canada to play was competitive opponents,” Johnson added. “We thought this would be overall the best competition we could face. We’ve had two really tough games and that’s what we wanted, especially given the fact that we have some of our key guys banged up. We didn’t want to (play) somewhere where we would win 105-5 or something like that. We wanted to have somewhat of a real game, and that’s what we accomplished on this trip.”