It will be Bright Lights, Big City, Small Gym for the No. 25 Alabama men’s basketball team on Friday afternoon.
The Crimson Tide is in New York City to play in the annual Barclay’s Classic, facing Brigham Young (3-1) in a game (1:30 p.m. CT tipoff) that will played at LIU-Brooklyn due to a scheduling conflict with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. Regardless of the venue, Alabama will be looking to continue its four-game winning streak before a Saturday matchup against No. 14 Minnesota at the Barclay’s Center. The 4-0 start is the best for Alabama since the 2012-13 season.
Alabama has been led in the last three games by the scoring of dynamic freshman guard Collin Sexton. After sitting out the season opener against Memphis, Sexton is averaging 25.3 points per game, including a 29-point effort in the Crimson Tide’s 77-76 win over UT-Arlington last Tuesday.
BYU (3-1) comes into the game averaging 85.3 points following a 95-88 home win over Niagara on Tuesday. The Cougars’ lone loss this season was an 89-75 defeat against UT-Arlington.
The Cougars are led by 6-foot-5 junior guard Elijah Bryant, who averages 21.5 points per game.
Alabama has not faced BYU in basketball since a December 1957 win in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama coach Avery Johnson said the back-to-back games against experienced opponents would be a challenge for the young UA squad.
“A lot of our players have never gone through detailed scouting reports like this,” Johnson said. “They don’t know a lot of the players they’re playing against. We just have to do a better job of paying more attention to detail.
“We’re just trying to get them to trust us a little bit more with our scouting reports, because we know what’s around the corner with all the teams that we’re playing against. We got stagnant a little bit against (the UT-Arlington) zone. We finally just started running some man-to-man stuff, we were trying to run some zone stuff and got stagnant. We have to do a better job of bodies moving, ball moving, so whether it’s BYU or Minnesota, we can’t get stuck as much as we did on offense.”
The Alabama games from New York City will not be televised but can be accessed on Stadium Television through Facebook, which can be reached online by going to watchstadium.com.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0225.