Alex Reese’s shooting and defense shine in victory over No. 4 Auburn


CW / Hannah Saad

Carey Reeder | @realCareyReeder, Staff Reporter

The Alabama men’s basketball team has five members from the state of Alabama. Two of those three players, sophomore guard Kira Lewis Jr. and junior forward Herbert Jones, are both averaging over 10 points a game at 16.8 and 10, respectively. The third, junior forward Alex Reese, is averaging just under 10 points a game at 9.2. However, all three Alabamians have something in common; they all took exception to Anfernee McLemore’s SEC Media Days comment about the atmosphere inside Coleman Coliseum.

 “We definitely took it as motivation, any player saying our gym is their favorite to play in,” Jones said. “We used it to just work harder.”

Reese scored in double figures in five of the last eight games but had just 11 points combined in the last two against Mississippi State and No. 10 Kentucky. That changed on Wednesday night.

The Pelham, Alabama, native threw down the second Crimson Tide dunk in the first four minutes of the game to record his first points of the night. The ensuing Auburn possession was derailed by a turnover, one of 12 in the first half for the Tigers. Reese added a layup at the midway point of the first half and then the forward began to stretch his range.

“He came out with some major energy for us to start the game,” coach Nate Oats said. “He’s capable of doing much more than shooting threes.”

Reese stuck to his strengths, knocking down two 3-pointers in the opening half to help the Crimson Tide build a lead of as many as 13 in the half. Alabama did not trail during the game.

In the second half, Reese injured his left knee that was deemed a knee contusion by the Alabama training staff after the game. The junior returned the floor with a sleeve over his knee after a few minutes inside the locker room.

Auburn cut the Crimson Tide lead down to as little as two points in the second half, while Reese was sidelined. With the score 46-41 and the Auburn faithful back into it, Reese knocked down his third 3-pointer of the game to push his total to 13 points for the game. He also contributed on the defensive end of the floor as he added one block and helped limit Auburn’s leading scorer, Samir Doughty, to six points.

Reese is finding his niche within the Alabama offense with his three-point shooting, but is adding to his arsenal on a daily basis.

“He’s getting better at taking people off the dribble,” Oats said. “He gave us some great early minutes and I was really happy for him tonight.”