TUSCALOOSA — Alabama basketball coach Avery Johnson campaigned to write the headline following the Crimson Tide’s 76-46 victory over Charleston Southern on Tuesday night.
Alabama once again received a quality outing from its bench, which contributed 46 points on the night. However, unlike earlier in the season, the Tide was able to stick to more of a nine-man rotation and appeared to be figuring out its identity on the court.
That had its head coach smiling.
“We showed a couple of presses tonight which fortunately led to some turnovers,” Johnson said. “We converted those turnovers, but you can do that when you have a solid nine-man rotation. You definitely just cant play 12. That should be the headline for all these stories, ‘He didn’t play 12.’ ”
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Earlier this week, Johnson challenged his team, stating the Tide’s play reflected its disappointing 3-2 record heading into the game. Tuesday night, Alabama (4-2) looked like an improved team, putting together its best shooting performance of the season while making 46 percent of its shots from the floor.
Alabama started the game on a 10-0 run and extended its lead to 21-5 midway through the first half. The Tide didn’t let up from there, opening up its lead to 40-15 at the half.
Making his second start of the season, freshman forward Braxton Key led the Tide with 14 points while adding six rebounds and three assists. The freshman was 6 of 8 from the court and 2 of 4 from beyond the arc, including the two early 3s to give the Tide a 6-0 lead to start the game.
“He’s playing like a high-level player,” Johnson said. “He’s a guy that we can use at 3, 4; we can move him to 2. He can pass, dribble and shoot.”
Key was joined in double digits by Avery Johnson Jr. (11 points) and Ar’Mond Davis (10 points), while Dazon Ingram had nine points to go with a team-high four assists. Donta Hall led the team with seven rebounds to go with six points on the night.
Alabama will travel to Austin, Texas on Friday to take on Texas at 8:30 p.m.