Monday, October 28, 2019

Bama Beats the Heck out of Georgia Tech, Crimson Tide 93 Jackets 65

Alabama cruised to an easy victory over Georgia Tech in a charity exhibition game benefiting Hurricane Dorian victims.  Georgia Tech had a significant size advantage, but the fast pace of play prevented them from being able to take advantage of it.

The starting lineup was Kira, Petty, Herbert, Alex, and Galin.  Our bench outscored them 40-22, in large part due to Jaden Shackelford dropping 21 as the sixth man on 6 of 10 three point shooting.  He is the real deal, has a very quick release and is not shy about pulling up even from a couple of feet behind the three point line.  

The playing rotation actually made a lot of sense.  Galin and Javian Davis rotated at the five spot.  Interior defense is clearly our weakness, and Georgia Tech was able to exploit it somewhat early in the game.  If they got to the basket we couldn't stop them.  Fortunately, we forced them into 24 turnovers.  Frankly, I'm not sure what Georgia Tech was hoping to accomplish on offense, they have some decent individual players but they generally looked disorganized.  I'm not a big fan of Josh Pastner.  

Galin picked up 3 fouls in the first half and played much of the game in foul trouble.  He ended up with 17 minutes to Javian's 12.  We stretched the lead to an insurmountable margin when we went small in the second half with Alex at the 5.

Speaking of Alex, he went to the locker room in the first half with a hip injury, but returned in the second half and ended up with 9 points in 16 minutes.  He was not 100% and I expect he will get more minutes when fully healthy.

Kira was the star we were expecting him to be.  He scored 20 points with 8 assists and 7 rebounds in 31 minutes of playing time.  He mostly ran the point, but moved off ball for a bit when Beetle came into the game.  Beetle still isn't 100%, but I thought he played well.  He had 3 assists and only one turnover in 18 minutes of playing time.  Jaylen Forbes played 23 minutes and scored 6 points with 3 rebounds.  He was one of the better defenders on the floor, in my opinion.

JP got hot in the second half once he found his spot in the corner, making three 3s and finishing with 15 points.  He also had 3 assists to one turnover and even ran the point for a couple of possessions.  Having Kira, Beetle, and to a lesser extent JP and Herb all capable of handling the ball gives us a lot of versatility.  

Herb made his only three point attempt, so that was encouraging, and played his usual lock-down defense.

Raymond Hawkins and the four walk-ons closed out the final couple of minutes of the game.  

Overall, the team looked exactly as advertised.  They push the ball up as quickly as possible and generally take the first decent look they get.  They shoot a lot of 3s, and if the defense extends they drive to the basket.  There really is no mid-range or post game, and I don't recall us running a single high-ball screen.  Defensively, we occasionally pick up at half court or three-quarters court, but it was strictly man to man.  I thought we communicated fairly well on screens in the half-court, and we didn't seem to switch as much as we did last year.

  The guys are still adjusting to the system and looked a bit out of control at times, especially in the first half.  We had too many turnovers and forced a few bad shots,  but with a 28 point win over an ACC team there's more reason for optimism than concern.

The turn out was a little disappointing, but it being noon on a Sunday in Tuscaloosa a lot of the regulars were probably at church.  I would estimate only about 1,000 or so were there, but those who did show up were supportive.  There were several standing ovations for the team's hustle, guys were not shy about diving for balls out-of-bounds or getting on the floor to secure a steal.  The team played hard and seemed to be having fun, interacting with the crowd after big plays, etc.  Coach Oats was intense, standing and coaching until the very end, even with a comfortable lead.  

Up next, the Penn Quakers come to Tuscaloosa for a game that actually counts.  The season officially gets underway on Tuesday, November 5th at 7pm.  I will see you there.

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