Alabama head men’s basketball coach Avery Johnson is all too familiar with what the South Carolina Gamecocks are capable of.
The Crimson Tide’s last stint on the same floor with Frank Martin’s squad required 60 minutes of game time to finish. Although Alabama came away with the 90-86 quadruple overtime loss, it wasn’t easy leaving Colonial Life Arena with the win.
“We’ve taken pride on being a physical team all year,” said Johnson. “but they are a physical team. They’re a team that you better be ready to play. You know, we’ve got to play the game physically but smart.”
In that game, Johnson witnessed Sindarius Thornwell catapult his SEC Player of the Year campaign. The senior finished the contest with 44 points and 21 rebounds in 56 minutes of play.
“When you’re talking about Thornwell, he’s the SEC Player of the Year for a reason,” Johnson said. “He’s sometimes unguardable. I had a front row seat in a four-overtime game. He gives you nightmares.”
While the game is one that fans in attendance or watching at home may never forget, it’s behind Thornwell as he looks to get his team into the next round.
“The main focus is winning and advancing,” Thornwell said before heading to Nashville. “Any given day, you could be done with conference. So, you know, we're just taking it one day at a time. The only important thing that matters right now is taking care of business on whoever we end up playing on Friday and making it to Saturday.”
South Carolina takes on Alabama on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
The game can be seen on the SEC Network.
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