If the Alabama men’s basketball team’s performance at Georgia last Saturday didn’t prompt Avery Johnson to break out the hard hats, the South Carolina Gamecocks probably will.
Alabama, looking to snap a two-game SEC losing streak, is coming off a 65-46 loss in Athens in which Georgia manhandled the Crimson Tide on the backboards. South Carolina, meanwhile, made it to last year’s Final Four with a bruising physical style and while UA had two memorable wins against the Gamecocks last year, they haven’t shown the same toughness this year.
“South Carolina is a relentless team on the offensive and defensive backboards,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said on Monday. “Against guys like (6-foot-10 Miak) Kotsar and (6-9 Chris) Silva, you better bring your hard hat. Last year, we had Jimmie Taylor and Bola (Olaniyan) in there battling. We don’t have them this year.
“We need to play tough. You might get hit on the nose. You might not retaliate, but you need to play with energy. You also have to be ready to defend the 3-point line, which we haven’t been great at.”
Johnson also noted the offensive problems that saw Alabama post its lowest scoring output since a 2015 loss to Xavier.
“We haven’t done a good job of taking and making wide open 3-pointers, and we’ve had poor shot selection. We’re also not finishing in the paint like we should, and not finding out big guys sometimes when they are open.”
Freshman guard Collin Sexton continues to lead UA in scoring at 20.6 points per game.
Johnson said that sophomore guard Dazon Ingram would be a game-time decision” after missing the Georgia game due to the flu.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.
Alabama vs. South Carolina
When: 6 p.m. CT, Tuesday
Where: Coleman Coliseum
Records: Alabama 9-6 (1-2 SEC), South Carolina 10-5 (1-2 SEC)
TV: SEC Network
Radio: 95.3 FM