The Crimson Tide opened up SEC play with a 77-75 win over the ranked Kentucky Wildcats.
The win was the first over the Wildcats in 6 years, and the first of the Avery Johnson era.
“It’s good to get that off our backs,” said Johnson after the game.
Dazon Ingram returned to the starting lineup, pushing Tevin Mack to the bench. But Mack made the most of his role, scoring 20 points on 6/6 shooting from behind the arc, keeping Alabama in the game.
The offense came out in the first half shooting well from the 3-point line, but allowed Kentucky to get to the free throw line and keep the game close. Kentucky led 40-38 at halftime.
In the second half the Crimson Tide started to push the ball up the court, looking to break through the defense quickly.
Donta Hall and Herbert Jones opened the half with momentum shifting plays. Alabama quickly took the lead and maintained control. Kira Lewis Jr.’s step back 3 got Coleman Coliseum on their feet as time ran down and the Alabama lead grew.
At the three minute mark, the Crimson Tide held a double digit lead, prompting John Calapari to call for a press defense.
The Crimson Tide struggled with the press, turning the ball over multiple times and presenting a comeback opportunity for the Wildcats.
After free throws from Dazon Ingram and John Petty in the final minute, Kentucky called timeout with under five seconds on the clock and a two point deficit.
The wildcats ran a play to get a deep open 3-point look for freshman Tyler Herro, but he was unable to connect.
The win marks Alabama’s first top 25 victory of the season and moves them to 10-3 on the season.
Up next for the Crimson Tide is LSU in Baton Rouge, Tuesday.
(Photo courtesy of Hannah Saad and The Crimson White)