BobbyJack already has given you the game essentials. What he did not take time to tell you was just how exciting this game was to watch.
I estimated the crowd to be between six and eight thousand. The announced crowd was closer to ten. Any of those numbers reflects a marked improvement over what we have seen for recent "preseason" games, even against named opponents.
The initial intent was to pound the ball inside. Green did score the games first five points before the Friars called time and established an effective defense. Bama then began trying to set up the three point shot. They earned several clean looks, the players set their feed and squared up to the basket. The shots did not fall. Enter plan C: the promised dribble-drive, half-court offense. This worked well enough to keep the Tide in the game.
Providence started out blazing from beyond the arc. They had two players with hot shooting hands and they used that to take the lead and hold it for the balance of the half.
As the second half started Bama fans saw something they've waited years to see, an effective perimeter defense. Providence hit only one of the ten threes it shot in the second half. Unfortunately guarding them so closely on the perimeter made it difficult for the Tide to defend against the Friar's dribble penetration. When that did not create open layups it freed their inside players for the unguarded dish. Providence seemed to score almost at will in the second half until Bama's guards began to harass the Friar forwards from behind.
Providence might not be the most talented team in the Big East, but Alabama is not among the SEC's premier programs this season either. This still was an important victory by a gritty, gutsy Alabama team. The game was exciting for forty full minutes. Both teams played with great energy and enthusiasm. The crowd responded too and encouraged the home team to dig deep as they approached crunch time.
Hillman's steal and dunk might have been the game's hi lite, but Torrence's offense and Knox' consistent shooting from the foul line (I believe he hit ten of his eleven free throws) while Green was on the bench, first with foul trouble and later with some sort of injury, are what kept Alabama in the game. Even with a shortage of post players this team could become a force to be reconned with if they could find one or two reliable three point shooters.
If you are a Bama Basketball fan I would encourage you to see this team play as often as you can. If they continue to perform like this, tickets might become a valuable commodity in a very short time. The new regime still is in its infancy and the players certainly could use your support. I don't regret any of the eleven hours I invested to see this game and post this meager entry. I hope to see you all in Coleman Coliseum soon.