No. 14 Minnesota turns page to No. 25 Alabama

Shortly after his Minnesota team defeated UMass on Friday in the Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y., coach Richard Pitino was asked about the 14th-ranked Golden Gophers' next opponent, No. 25 Alabama on Saturday.

"I haven't watched one clip, so I focused totally on UMass," Pitino said after the Golden Gophers beat the Minutemen 69-51 at the Steinberg Wellness Center on the campus of Long Island University.

"Now, I'll turn the page."

Such is the way of life for a college basketball coach in these holiday events playing one game after another.

Alabama enters Saturday's game between the ranked teams coming off a 71-59 win over BYU. The Crimson Tide (5-0) will face Minnesota (6-0) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, marking the return of Avery Johnson, who coached the Nets before coming Alabama's coach three years ago.

"I know Avery's a terrific coach," Pitino said. "They have really good young talent, so we have to be ready. They have a really big team and a really talented team."

Alabama has 11 players 6-foot-5 or taller and two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior are in the starting lineup.

Johnson joked with reporters about his unsuccessful run with the Nets, who fired him in the 2012-13 season after he compiled a 60-116 record.

"There's been a lot of great basketball played in Brooklyn," Johnson said. "I know that for a fact. Not necessarily my team, but overall."

In Alabama's win over BYU, freshman forward John Petty scored 16 points while making 4 of 7 from 3-point range, Donte Hall had 14 points and nine rebounds and Dazon Ingram 13.

Highly touted freshman point guard Collin Sexton had 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

"I thought we played OK," Johnson said. "Second half, offensively we weren't as good, but this young team, they play hard, they're very competitive."

Minnesota routed UMass behind junior forward Jordan Murphy's 16 points and nine rebounds. Amir Coffey added 10 points and defensive ace Reggie Lynch had nine points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

The Golden Gophers' perimeter defense was particularly impressive limiting UMass to only 23.8 percent (5 of 21 shooting) from 3-point range.

"Our guys played great defense," Pitino said. "I thought our intensity defensively, especially in the first half, was terrific. I'm proud of our guys."

Alabama was also impressive with its defense against BYU. The Crimson Tide had six blocked shots and forced 11 turnovers. Daniel Giddens, a 6-foot-11 center, tallied three blocks.

"We tried to mix up our defenses," Johnson said. "I think in today's game you can't have one pick-and-roll coverage. You need four or five or six of them just to try to keep teams off balance."

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