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Alabama Men’s Basketball Falls to Dayton, 77-72, in ESPN Tip Off Marathon...

on Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Crimson Tide Men's Basketball:

The Alabama men's basketball team fell to Dayton, 77-72, on Tuesday afternoon in a contest that went down to the final seconds. The game featured seven ties and five lead changes, as neither team led by more than five points over the final 30-plus minutes of play.

Senior Corban Collins and freshman Braxton Key led the Tide with 15 points each. Key also grabbed a team-high six rebounds. Redshirt freshman Dazon Ingram also had a stellar game, has he collected 14 points and a team-leading seven assists compared to only two turnovers.

"We had a hard fought game tonight," head coach Avery Johnson said. "I'm really proud of our guys. We didn't have as good of a second half as we wanted to. I thought early on in the second half we defended the three-point line well, but we gave up two critical threes during that stretch. Scoochie (Smith) got away from us a little bit on the drive. We missed some shots that we normally make. We didn't do a god job of taking care of the ball at the end."

"There were a lot of situations that we can grow and learn from, and we're definitely going to teach and help our guys improve. We had so many teachable moments that happened tonight. We had a press where we didn't get in the correct position and they got away from us. Hopefully we'll learn from it, but again I'm not in a situation where I'm down on our guys. We've come a long way from the Dayton game last year."

Alabama (1-1) got off to a great start with a 10-2 run over the opening 2:49 of the game. However, Dayton (2-0), which entered the game ranked No. 26 in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls, responded with a 16-4 run of its own over the next eight-plus minutes to grab an 18-14 lead with 9:20 to play in the opening stanza. 

Alabama did not make a field goal for more than nine minutes during the Flyers' run, but the Tide bounced back with an 11-2 run of its own to take a 24-20 lead six minutes to play.

Alabama would not trail for the rest of the first half. Junior Ar'Mond Davis made two free throws with 17.2 seconds left on the clock to extend the Tide's lead to 36-31. The Tide defense then denied Dayton from getting any shots off as the clock expired in the first half. Alabama outscored the Flyers 12-3 in points off of turnovers and collected seven offensive rebounds to Dayton's one over the opening 20 minutes.

The Tide could not extend its lead as Alabama struggled to hit its shots consistently early in the second half. However, the defense kept the Tide in the game, as Alabama maintained a lead up until the 7:05 mark when Dayton's Charles Cooke converted a layup to give the Flyers a 54-53 lead. The layup was part of a 7-0 spurt that turned a 53-49 Alabama lead into a 56-53 advantage for the Flyers.

The Tide continued to battle and regained the lead once again on a Key layup with 2:28 remaining to give his team a 64-63 edge. But a pair of free throws by Cooke followed by a crucial three-pointer from Ryan Mikesell gave Dayton the lead for good.

The Tide defense finished the game with three blocks and forced 11 turnovers in the contest. Alabama outrebounded the Flyers 40-28, for the game and owned an 18-5 advantage on the offensive glass.

Dayton finished with four players in double-figures. Scoochie Smith led the Flyers with 20 points, while Cooke scored 19 and added a game-high 10 rebounds.

Alabama will play its second game of the Las Vegas Main Event in Coleman Coliseum on Friday night. The Tide takes on Ball State at 8 p.m. CT on SEC Network.

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