Alabama downs Winthrop 72-60
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Before the season began, Alabama coach Avery Johnson emphasized how important it was for his team to find Jimmie Taylor. They found him for the first time on Wednesday night.
Taylor scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Alabama's 72-60 win over Winthrop.
Taylor's double-double is the first for an Alabama player since Johnson took over in the offseason.
Eagles coach Pat Kelsey knew Taylor's size would cause problems for his team.
''(Taylor) scared me just because of his size and his length and his ability to obviously score over us close to the basket,'' Kelsey said. ''He's got a nice touch around the basket.''
Taylor wasn't the only Alabama player that stood out to Kelsey. He compared point guard Justin Coleman to a microwave heating up as the game progressed.
Coleman finished with 18 points and had five assists, Retin Obasohan added 12 points, and Arthur Edwards had 11 for the Crimson Tide (7-2), who outshot Winthrop 52 percent to 38 percent.
Leading by five at halftime, Alabama surged on a 19-4 run in which Taylor scored six points and Obasohan eight. Coleman scored 16 points in the second half, and his 3-pointer at 10:06 put the Crimson Tide up by 23 for its largest lead of the game.
''We kind of got our offense in gear there in the second half,'' Johnson said. ''It was like paint drying in the first half. The tempo was too slow.''
Alabama outrebounded the Eagles 40-30 and outscored them 42-22 in the paint.
Keon Johnson scored 25 points and Xavier Cooks added 13 for the Eagles (6-3).
Alabama's defense limited Johnson to eight points in the second half, compared with the 17 he scored in the first half. Avery Johnson credits Obasohan with shutting down Keon Johnson in the second half.
''We talked about how we wanted to minimize his production in the second half,'' Avery Johnson said. ''Fortunately, we switched Retin Obasohan, reigning SEC Player of the Week, on him and Retin did a phenomenal job defensively.''
Once the Eagles fell behind in the second half their problems were compounded by shooting 4-18 beyond the arc while Alabama went 3-7 from the same distance.
Alabama likely could have won by a larger margin, but the Crimson Tide began sitting starters and other key contributors after Taylor took a hard fall with just over five minutes to play.
Alabama: This was the Crimson Tide's first home game since losing starting point guard Dazon Ingram to a season-ending injury. The team also played without its No. 2 scorer, Shannon Hale, who sat out with an unspecified medical condition that will likely keep him out of at least one more contest.
Winthrop: The Eagles were forced to play a smaller lineup at times since Duby Okeke was unable to play because of a broken wrist.
This was the Crimson Tide's fifth game scoring at least 70 points this year. Alabama is unbeaten when scoring at least 50 points this season.
This was the Eagles fourth game being held under 80 points this season. The Eagles are now 2-3 when held under 80 points and a perfect 4-0 when reaching it.
Alabama takes on Oregon in Birmingham, Alabama, on Monday at 8 p.m. CT.
Winthrop plays at Georgia Southern on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT.