Alabama vs. Wichita State
When: Sunday, 12:30 p.m. CT
Where: TD Arena, Charleston, S.C.
Records: Alabama 3-1, Wichita St. 2-2
Radio: 95.3 FM
The University of Alabama men’s basketball team did an about-face in the second round of the Charleston Classic on Friday, following up a sluggish first-round loss with a wire-to-wire 79-61 win over Ball State.
The Crimson Tide, sticking with a seven-man rotation (starters John Petty, Kira Lewis, Herb Jones, Donta Hall and Galin Smith and substitutes Tevin Mack and Dazon Ingram) for most of the game, trailed only at 2-0, then went on a 13-0 run over the next five minutes, taking a grip on the game that it did not relinquish.
“It all started with preparation,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “Last night (in film study), they saw the mistakes we made and that we didn’t have good energy (against Northeastern.) We got them up early today, didn’t let them sleep in, went to the gym (at the Citadel) and had a 45-minute shootaround. It must have worked. This looked more like the Alabama basketball team I expect to see.”
Mack, a transfer from Texas, had his first big game in a Crimson Tide uniform, scoring 20 points.
“Mack helped us on both ends of the floor,” Johnson said. “People will see the 20 points but he helped us on the defensive end. We really limited their 3-point shots, which we didn’t do against Northeastern.”
Alabama built its lead to 20 points, 49-29, with 14 minutes remaining and never let Ball State get closer than 14 points down the stretch.
In addition to Mack, Alabama’s Hall recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds after being held scoreless in the loss to Northeastern. Jones scored 13 points and Ingram added 11.
K.J. Walton led Ball State (1-3) with 13 points.
The Crimson Tide will be off Saturday and will face Wichita State in the tournament’s fifth-place contest at 12:30 p.m. CT on Sunday.
“I don’t know how much they are going to enjoy the off-day,” Johnson said. “We’re going to get back to work. I want them to remember that feeling after Northeastern and not want to have it again.”