The University of Alabama men’s basketball team was building momentum going into the Christmas break, winning four of five games with the only loss coming in a final-possession game at top 25 opponent Penn State.
Crimson Tide head coach Nate Oats was glad to have the break nonetheless.
“We really needed a couple of days off because we have been beaten up,” Oats said. “Herb (Jones, who has had a nagging elbow injury) is doing a lot better. (Alex) Reese and Beetle (Bolden) are still limited but I think they’re improving.
“So we took the time and then today is our third day preparing for Richmond. They are very dangerous, probably more dangerous since they lost their last game (to Redford) and have had a week to think about that.”
The Spiders are 10-2 with their only other loss coming to Auburn and wins over Vanderbilt and Wisconsin. Richmond starts a veteran lineup (five juniors) and is one of the best teams in the country at protecting the ball on offense.
“Their offense is ranked higher (in efficiency) than ours although it’s a different style,” Oats said. “They will take transition opportunities if they are there but they’ll slow it down if it’s not there. They are more Princeton based, a lot of backdoors. Their center (6-foot-10 Grant Golden) passes the ball well. It’s definitely different but very efficient.”
Alabama, meanwhile, is averaging almost 86 points per game over the last five contests.
“Getting turnovers down helps,” Oats said. “That was a major problem, that and establishing that we were going to be aggressive, Plus when guys are shooting like John Petty and Alex Reese are shooting it, that your offense look pretty good.”
Sunday’s game is part of a doubleheader at Coleman Coliseum. The Alabama women’s team, winners of four straight games, will host Southeastern Louisiana in the first game beginning at 2 p.m.
Reach Cecil Hurt at or via Twitter @cecilhurt