TUSCALOOSA ?? The University of Alabama basketball team will work to snap back from a mid-week Top 10 road loss when the Crimson Tide plays host to Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday night.
Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CT in Coleman Coliseum. The game is being televised, live, on CSS which is Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast. Tom Roberts and Wendell Hudson will call the game for the network.
Fans holding previously purchased tickets to the game are reminded that the game time has changed for TV since those tickets were printed and that it is a night game.
The first ticketed fans through the doors on Saturday night will receive Alabama Basketball schedule magnets.
The Crimson Tide brings a 3-2 overall record into the game while the Lions are 5-1 with its lone loss at LSU. Alabama is trying to rebound from a 76-63 road loss at No. 9 Texas A&M on Wednesday night.
“I think the first thing is we’ve got to get back on track, coming back from Texas with some things, I think, that hurt us in that game,” said Alabama basketball coach Mark Gottfried referring to Alabama’s 76-63 loss at No. 9 Texas A&M on Wednesday night. “Whether it’s defensive rebounding that still has been an issue for us at times or sustaining our defense or not turning the ball over at key times or shot selection at key times, those things have hurt us some, so, more than anything, that’s where our concentration is.
“I think this team, Southeastern Louisiana, is very good. They’re 5-1. They’ve won four in a row. They’ve got a couple of very, very good athletic players, and, again, I think it’s a team that will end up being among the top echelon of their conference. So we understand that.”
Alabama is led by junior power forward Richard Hendrix who leads the Southeastern Conference in scoring and rebounding with his 22.8 points and 14.0 rebounds after five games. The John Wooden candidate has had a double-double in points and rebounds in all five of the Crimson Tide’s games this season and he’s scored 20 or more points in four of the five games, coming just one free throw shy of that mark at Texas A&M where he scored 19 points to go with his game-leading 12 rebounds. Alabama is also being powered by the play of junior guard Alonzo Gee who is averaging 15.8 points and 7.4 rebounds. Gee co-led all scorers with Hendrix with 19 points at Texas A&M on Wednesday night and scored 25 points last Saturday against Southern Miss.
The Tide’s probable starters include Hendrix (22.8 ppg/14.0 rpg), Gee (15.8 ppg/7.4 rpg), at point guard junior Brandon Hollinger (1.8 ppg/3.8 assists), senior guard Mykal Riley (11.0 ppg/3.0 rpg) and sophomore forward Demetrius Jemison (8.4 ppg/4.8 rpg).
“Right now we’re playing pretty good ball,” said Jemison, a Birmingham native. “A couple of games haven’t gone our way but we’re still playing good ball, so I think we’re going to go out and have a good performance against this next team, Southeastern Louisiana. And if we execute and do everything we’re supposed to, we should have a good chance to win it. We’re just having key turnovers at key times, and we need to execute our offense a little bit better. Other than that, we’re playing well.”
Among those playing well is Jemison. He earned his first official collegiate start in the season opener against Troy and has started every game since. The sophomore says it’s been a new and exciting experience for him, and he’s learning every day.
“I’m feeling pretty comfortable with how I’m playing right now. I need to do a little bit better at a couple of things, but I feel like we’re still learning. I’m still learning for sure. I’m still asking Richard Hendrix lots of questions and getting a lot of advice from him, learning as much as I can,” said Jemison. “As far as the other night, at Texas A&M, it was a really big game, a really great atmosphere, the type of games you come to this university to play. So it was a great experience. We lost unfortunately, but we’re going to learn from it and move on and prepare ourselves for the rest of the season using what we learned.
Saturday night’s game marks only the third time Alabama and Southeastern Louisiana have played one another in men’s basketball. Both previous meetings have come during the Gottfried era with Alabama winning both to lead the series 2-0. In 2001, the year Alabama would go on to advance to the NIT Championship game, the Tide won 92-63 in Tuscaloosa. And the last meeting was during the 2004 season, a year Alabama advanced to the NCAA Elite 8. Alabama won that game against SELA 83-76 in Tuscaloosa.
Southeastern Louisiana features four starters who average in double digits in scoring and one of those is averaging the double-double in points and rebounding. Kevyn Green, a 6-foot-5 senior forward leads the team in scoring with his 14.8 points a game. Tavaris Nance, a 6-foot-6 senior guard is averaging 11.3 points and 6-foot-6 junior transfer forward Warrell Span is averaging 11.0 points. Sophomore center Patrick Sullivan is averaging the double-double as the 6-foot-9 player is averaging 10.7 points and 10.2 rebounds for Jim Yarbrough’s Lions. Senior guard Dekyron Nicks rounds out its lineup and averages 7.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
Following Saturday night’s game Alabama will travel to Birmingham and the BJCC for the Pizza Hut SEC/Big East Invitational. Alabama plays No. 5 Georgetown at 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday, December 5 in the double header. Auburn and West Virginia play one another at 8:30 CT. Alabama’s game is on ESPN. Auburn’s game will be on ESPN2.