TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Avery Johnson and the Alabama Crimson Tide basketball team began their 2018-19 campaign with a dominating victory over the Southern Jaguars, 82-62.
The Crimson Tide showcased its balanced offense in the rotation with four players in double figures led by senior forward Donta Hall with 20 points and five rebounds. Sophomore guard John Petty followed with 17 points, 14 in the first half, and finished the game 5-for-7 from 3-point range.
Sophomore forward Galin Smith, who got the start over Daniel Giddens both in the exhibition game against Montevallo and in the season opener, had 10 points and four rebounds.
“I was really proud of some of the shots we got especially from behind the three-point line,” Johnson said. “I was proud of the way the guys moved the ball. We had some guys in uniform for the very first time whether its Tevin Mack or Kira Lewis — those guys need reps and minutes. But, I’m really proud of our team because you just never know how these first games could go at home, especially against an opponent that you’re not familiar with.”
The Crimson Tide also got production from its new faces with freshman Kira Lewis and Texas transfer Tevin Mack.
Lewis, who started for injured Dazon Ingram (ankle), showcased his playmaking ability with seven assists and also added six points.
Mack scored 10 points and collected six rebounds.
Johnson, who played at Southern from 1986-88, where he averaged a NCAA record 13.3 assist per game his senior season, was honored before the game with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Jaguars’ Alumni Association.
“First of all I just want to thank my alma mater Southern University for coming to Tuscaloosa and playing this game,” Johnson said. “I obviously was really flattered by the distinguished alumni award. I don’t know what’s so distinguishing about me, but I’m very honored and flattered. My wife and I both obviously graduated from Southern.”
Before the game, Johnson saw pictures from his playing days at Southern reminiscing on when they used to sell out crowds in arenas smaller than what he’s accustomed to now with the Crimson Tide at Coleman Coliseum. It was a night to remember for Coach Johnson, who could add a dominating performance by his team to the start his fourth season in Tuscaloosa.
The Crimson Tide will remain at home this Sunday for its meeting with Appalachian State at 6 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.