By Chris DePew
Nov. 26, 2015
Another cold-shooting afternoon led to another lopsided loss to a team from southwest Ohio, as Alabama faded badly after halftime and fell to No. 23 Xavier 64-45 in the opening game of the AdvoCare Invitational at Walt Disney World in Florida.
What did we learn today?: Last week’s 32-point loss at Dayton was no fluke. The Crimson Tide simply does not have the right combination of talent and experience right now to knock off high-quality teams. Bama at least hung around longer this time, staying ahead or within striking distance for the entire first half — a nice contrast to getting run out of the gym after 10 minutes in Dayton. But that had as much or more to do with the Musketeers’ miserable first-half shooting (7-for-29 FGA, 11-for-19 FTA) than Bama’s efforts. Xavier rallied to pull its percentage from the field to a little under 40 percent, while Alabama stayed in the deep freeze.
What were the biggest concerns?: There is no reliable scorer. Other than Shannon Hale, no Tide player had more than one field goal in the first half. Hale had 10 points by halftime – and nothing afterwards, as the starting five finished with 25 points. Outside of a magical performance against Louisiana-Lafayette, Bama is a grotesque 14-for-64 (21.9 percent) from 3-point range in three other games this season. A 3-to-1 turnover-to-assist ratio (18 vs. 6) indicates a team playing out of control.
What was the best part of the game?: Alabama made a creditable showing against one of the nation’s best rebounding teams. Xavier had been out-rebounding opponents by 14.5 per game, but only held a 38-31 edge Thursday. Alabama actually won the first-half rebound battle 22-20. Point guard Dazon Ingram tied for the game-high honors on the board with nine. If and when the starting frontcourt of Hale and Jimmie Taylor pulls down its share, Ingram’s contribution could turn a team weakness into a strength.
Who was the star?: Hale went missing after halftime, but still tied Justin Coleman as Bama’s high scorer. He was 4-for-7 shooting in the opening minutes, including 2-for-4 from long range. He’s the reason the Tide hung around as long as it did.
What’s next?: Alabama plays No. 20 Wichita State in a consolation game Friday at 11 a.m. Central in a game streaming on ESPN3.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter at @TideFansChris
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