Lewis scores 21, Alabama beats Appalachian St. 81-73
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama coach Avery Johnson called it a mature performance as Kira Lewis scored 21 points in the second game of his career to lead Alabama to an 81-73 victory over Appalachian State on Sunday night.
Isaac Johnson converted a 3-point play that gave Appalachian State (1-1) a six-point lead, matching its largest of the game, with 12 minutes to play. But Alabama responded with a 13-1 run to take the lead for good as the Mountaineers missed five consecutive field-goal attempts and committed five turnovers over the next four minutes, 42 seconds.
"Lots of highs and lows with this game tonight," Johnson said. "I thought we showed some signs of maturity. I don't know if we would have won this game last year."
The Crimson Tide forced 21 Appalachian State turnovers while committing only 10 and had a 26-12 advantage in points off turnovers.
Alabama picked up the win despite shooting 38 percent from the field and 60 percent from the free throw line. Alabama also only made 5 of 16 from 3-point range and finished with just seven assists. Lewis was the story for Alabama, shooting 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc. Through two games, Lewis has blossomed into a nice replacement for Collin Sexton, who left for the NBA after one season.
Alabama guard Dazon Ingram made his debut after spending most of the offseason dealing with injuries. He had eight points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes of play. "This kid has spent more time with our athletic trainer than anybody on our team," said Johnson. "It's basically like they live together in the training room. But he's been able to fight through adversity."
Appalachian State had three players in score double figures — Johnson had a career-high 23 points and 13 rebounds, Ronshad Shabazz scored 21, and Justin Forrest added 14 — but didn't get much beyond that. No other player scored more than six points for the Mountaineers.
Alabama continues its play in the Charleston Classic with a game against Northeastern on Thursday. Tipoff is at 1 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPNU.
Appalachian State plays No. 24 Purdue on Thursday afternoon.