Tide finds solution for zone defense
After the team’s first loss of the season last Thursday, the Alabama men’s basketball team will try to bounce back Wednesday night when they travel to Dayton, Ohio, to face the Dayton Flyers.
Though the team played in Puerto Rico earlier this season, the game on Wednesday will be their first true road test, something that senior forward JaMychal Green said can be hard to prepare for.
“I don’t know what to expect myself, from never being there,” he said. “What I heard is that it’s a sold out game, so I know it’s going to be a tough game.”
Since the loss to Georgetown, the team has been working on how to overcome a zone defense. Head coach Anthony Grant said he thought other teams may try to use it against them since Georgetown did so successfully.
“You look at the VCU game, and I believe you saw some zone in that game,” he said. “You look at Georgetown and saw extended periods of zone, and we struggled. So I would anticipate that we’d better be ready for teams to play zone. We’ve got to do a better job of handling zone.”
Grant’s philosophy on handling the zone doesn’t mean only trying to make outside shots.
“I think the fallacy there is people think you’ve got to shoot the ball from the perimeter,” he said. “I disagree with that. I think there’s obviously a lot of different ways, but no matter what you’re doing, the ball has to work inside down, no matter if it’s a man or a zone.”
Green said the team was taking good shots against Georgetown but they just weren’t falling.
“Our freshmen, they’re still working,” he said. “They work every day after practice, so the shots will start falling.”
Sophomore guard Trevor Releford said Georgetown’s zone was different from any others they had seen.
“You definitely have to attack the gaps and knock down shots and just keep the ball moving,” Releford said.
Grant will be battling against his alma mater in this matchup. He played for Dayton from 1983-87 and made two NCAA tournament appearances with the Flyers. In the 105 games Grant played at Dayton, he averaged 11.6 points and 6.7 rebounds.
Grant said this game wasn’t about him but rather about about the team coming back from the loss and playing a good opponent on the road.
“You look at Dayton, they’ve had some quality wins on the year and obviously a very tough team at home, so for us it’s an opportunity to try to get a win on the road,” he said.
The last time he visited the city was last year. He couldn’t remember the last time he had been inside the arena, though he said he has been back since his playing career.
While Grant said he expects Wednesday’s starting lineup to stay the same, the different lineups throughout the game are still a work in progress.
“We’re still looking at different things,” he said. “At this point in the season, I think as a coach, I’m still trying to figure that out.”