By (Tyler Waldrep)

Avery Johnson has a simple message for his team this week-
take care of the basketball.

“We think Oregon is going to be, potentially, a sweet 16
team,” Johnson said. “We had them on the ropes.”

Alabama fell to the Ducks, when the Crimson Tide blew a 12-point halftime lead after turning the ball over five times in the opening nine
minutes of the second half. Oregon is currently receiving enough votes in the
latest AP Poll to have the Ducks as the unofficial No. 27 team.

“I am not satisfied with it [Alabama’s assist to turnover
ratio] at all,” Johnson said. “We have to do a better job of getting quality
shots at crucial times in the game.”

Alabama will get a chance to prove it can take care of the
ball when it faces Jacksonville State on Tuesday in Tuscaloosa at 7 p.m.

Johnson said his team will need to keep an eye on Greg
Tucker and Malcolm Drumwright. Both players have scored double digit points
more often than not lately, and Drumwright is averaging 20 points over the
Gamecocks’ last five games

“Malcolm Drumwright, he could play for anybody in the
country,” Johnson said. “[He’s a] terrific guard, can shoot it, [has] three-point range [and] has had some really big games this year.”

Johnson said starting point guard Dazon Ingram’s season-ending
injury hurt the offense’s ability to play fast. As a point guard, Ingram was
also responsible for getting the ball passed to the right players.

“That was a major setback for us,” Johnson said. “Then, when
we play fast we don’t do a good job of taking care of the ball, and that’s why
our turnovers has been so high. We’ll try to find that medium ground.”

It’s difficult to tell if Ingram’s departure slowed the
offense down a meaningful amount, but Alabama is averaging the same amount of
turnovers and almost two more assists per game since Justin Coleman took over
the starting role three games ago.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the team’s play since losing
Ingram, is that the team was also forced to play without another starter. Shannon Hale missed the last two games with a private medical situation.

Going forward, the biggest problem Alabama might face will
be finding ways to get Coleman the rest he needs in big games, but for now the
challenge will be playing with the right mindset despite the holiday season.

“These games coming out of Christmas break, are always can
go either way,” Johnson said. “You don’t know which one of your teams are going
to show up.”

…read more

Source:: The Crimson White Sports