By (James Ogletree)

Over 7,000 fans flocked to Coleman Coliseum on Tuesday night for Tide Tipoff. It was their first chance to see the men’s and women’s basketball teams in action this year.

The Tide Tipoff expanded to include more events last year, having previously been only a scrimmage. It now provides more of a loose, fun atmosphere for Alabama basketball fans to come out and support the teams.

“Tonight was a celebration of a community that’s behind us 1000 percent through all of the great wins and the tough losses,” men’s basketball coach Avery Johnson said. “They understand our vision, and [women’s basketball coach Kristy Curry and I] are striving to achieve the same goal: to represent The University of Alabama in the postseason and the NCAA Tournament.”

The event featured a three-point contest that paired women’s players with fans selected from the crowd. Guard Alana da Silva and her partner won the competition, earning her partner an Xbox.

The men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams were recognized for their finishes at last year’s national championships. That was followed by Sky Squad’s performance, which used a trampoline to showcase backflips, between-the-legs dunks, and even a backwards dunk.

Fans got their first look at five-star freshman guards Collin Sexton and John Petty during a scrimmage. Much to the crowd’s delight, Petty drained a three-pointer to give Team White a 104-99 lead over Team Crimson with just over two minutes remaining.

Johnson said Sexton and Petty have already shown their value to the team and that the rest of the team needs to improve to help them succeed.

“[Petty and Sexton] are both very competitive young men,” Johnson said. “They can pass, dribble and shoot, they compete on the defensive end, they want to get better… We just have to support them by getting more out of our returning players.”

Curry said she has more confidence in her team entering this season than any in her five years at Alabama, due to her players’ experience in SEC competition.

“Experience is invaluable, and this is an experienced league,” Curry said. “Your youth and your newcomers will help, but anytime you have that experience, it’s confidence… Our newcomers are talented, but they don’t have one minute in this league, and this league is rugged.”

Johnson and Curry were each both complimentary of one another’s teams and said they looked forward to supporting them as the season progresses.

The men’s team will host an exhibition against Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 6, and the women’s team will play Antelope Valley in an exhibition on Nov. 1. Both games will begin at 7 p.m. CT.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports