In the final game of their Canadian tour, our guys overcame another slow start and poor shooting night to knock off the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, 81-71. Several players - Dazon Ingram, Herb Jones and Collin Sexton - sat out for precautionary reasons.
Ottawa got off to a hot start, leading by as much as 7 points in the 1st quarter. Alabama put together a strong 2nd quarter, outscoring the Gee-Gees by 11, and a 6-point halftime lead. From there the game was a close affair until Alabama was able to put together a run in the 4th quarter to lead by as many as 13, which ultimately helped Alabama close the game out.
Six guys finished in double figures - Avery Jr with 15, Braxton with 12, John Petty with 11, Riley with 13, Donta with 11, and Ar'Mond with 10. After being out-rebounded by 10 in their previous game, Alabama was +11 on the boards. On the flip side, defense continues to be a work in progress, Alabama only forced nine turnovers, and Ottawa attempted 79 shots. Fortunately, the Gee-Gees only made 38% of their field goals. On offense, Alabama only had 11 assists vs 14 turnovers. Once again, the free throw line was a struggle as the team finished at just 60%.
While John Petty and Collin Sexton have received a lot of attention so far this season, I was encouraged by the play of the veterans tonight. The young guys are great, but how far this team will go will be determined by the veterans. Braxton, Donta, Riley, Avery Jr. and Ar'Mond all had good games tonight. Of note: Braxton is in noticeably better shape as a sophomore, and Ar'Mond looks much more comfortable on the floor than he did last season. Regarding the young guys: John Petty and Collin look the part so far. Petty in particular raised his profile with the casual fans by his performance in Canada. Yeah, he can shoot the heck out of the ball, but he impressed me tonight with his passing ability (4 assists tonight).
Alabama finishes the Canadian tour at 2-1. Though they will come home with some bumps and bruises, they appear to be relatively healthy as we look forward to November. These teams in Canada were quality competition, and I think this was a good experience for this Alabama team. 13 weeks until Memphis. Stay buckled.