Alex Reese paces Alabama to exhibition win against Montevallo
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor
TUSCALOOSA – At the end of the first half in an exhibition game with the University of Montevallo, Alex Reese led all scorers along with John Petty at eight points to propel the Alabama Crimson Tide to a 39-22 lead over the Flacons at the break.
The sophomore from Pelham High School went on to have 11 points in an 82-40 victory against Montevallo, as his game continues to progress toward being a big part of this year’s team.
“He’s mixing up his game,” head coach Avery Johnson said after the win. “Obviously we love his 3-point shot, that’s great, but just getting in there and providing some muscle on the backboards, and not just trying to play like a small forward. He did a nice job, and has been doing it in practice of missing up his game.”
It was a slow start out of the gate for Alabama, as the Falcons jumped up 2-0, while the Crimson Tide went scoreless for close to three minutes to start the game, but Bama then responded with an 8-0 run to take the lead, a lead they didn’t relinquish the rest of the night.
The Falcons again tied it at 12-12, but Alabama closed the first half out with a 27-10 run to take that 39-22 halftime advantage.
Reese made his first entrance into the game with 16:46 remaining in the first half and quickly made a presence by picking up a steal that led to a fast break and following that up with an alley-oop assist to Galin Smith before he drained a 3-pointer and made a layup.
He went on to finish the first half with eight points on 3-of-3 shooting from the floor, while also adding two assists two rebounds and two steals.
That first half was already giving Johnson reasons to be proud of his second-year player.
“Alex has taken it upon himself to get his body right so that he can compete at a high level on the floor and on both ends of the floor,” Johnson said. “He’s in better shape and his stamina is better. He faded a lot at the end of practices last year because of the stamina situation, but now he’s in there until the very last minute. He’s taken the challenge upon himself this year.”
Reese went on to close out the game with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, while adding six rebounds, three assists, one block and two steals.
“My conditioning has been better, my shot is better and I’ve lost some weight so I can run a little bit better,” Reese said. “It’s little stuff like that that has come a little bit later, but helped my progressions.”
Reese also complimented the team effort in the win, saying the practice and hard work showed off.
Petty ended up being the game’s leading scorer with 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting, 2-of-10 from beyond the arc, while also adding seven rebounds and two assists.
Four other players also finished in double figures with Smith adding 11 points, while Herb Jones and freshman Kira Lewis finished with 10 points.
Donta Hall finished with eight points and led the team with 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.
As a team, Alabama totaled 21 assists to Montevallo’s six assists and out-rebounded the Falcons 43-32. The Crimson Tide did give up 12 offensive rebounds and were out-rebounded 7-1 on the offensive boards in the first half, but bounced back in the second half.
“Good all-around game for us tonight,” Johnson said. “We were the bigger, faster and stronger team. Overall, this game was about us performing and executing what we want on both ends of the floor and today we looked a little bit more like a balanced team. Are they going to want more and to try and improve to get better is the main question.”
As far as the local aspect beyond Reese, the Falcons got the chance to play a quality Division I SEC opponent as they prepare for what’s expected to be a successful season as well.
“I hope this game will do a lot for us,” head coach Danny Young said after. “We only practiced 12 days and weren’t very crisp. We talked about keeping them off the glass. We’re not in great shape either. I thought we were in better shape than we were.”
While they are criticisms, they’re criticisms Young hopes his team takes positively to improve on after seeing what it takes to compete against a quality opponent.
“Montevallo is a well-coached team that does some solid things on offense,” Johnson said of the visitors. “They are going to compete and be successful at their level this season. We are thankful they wanted to come and play this game.”
D’Angelo Streeter led Montevallo with 11 points in the game and also went 4-of-4 from the free throw line. De’Marco Owens and Wade Lowman led the team with five rebounds, while three others had four rebounds.
Behind Alabama’s five double-digit scorers, junior Tevin Mack came on late and had seven points and Dazon Ingram posted five points.
Alabama had a few othe scorers that fan favorites were happy to see do well as sophomore Tyler Barnes had four points and freshman Britton Johnson hit a 3-pointer.
Alabama will open the regular season on at home on Tuesday, Nov. 6, against Southern with tipoff set for 7 p.m.
Montevallo is set to compete in the GSC/SSC Challenge in Tampa, Florida starting Saturday, Nov. 10.
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