By Chris DePew
November 15, 2016
Alabama led Dayton for much of Tuesday afternoon’s matchup but couldn’t ever find its shooting touch in time to hold off the Flyers, falling 77-72 at Coleman Coliseum.
What did we learn today?: The Crimson Tide is closing the gap between itself and the nation’s better teams, but it won’t be part of that club until it can put the ball in the basket regularly. All the other pieces were in place to turn the tables after a humiliating 38-point loss in Dayton last November. Alabama out-rebounded the Flyers 40-28, it forced 11 turnovers, it attacked the basket and reached the foul line 30 times. But Alabama shot just 39 percent from the field, and had to heat up in the closing minutes to make it that respectable. Likewise, 10 missed free throws loom large in a game with seven ties, five lead changes and where Bama never trailed by more than two possessions.
What were the biggest concerns?: Did we mention it was a rough shooting day? It’s a shame to keep harping on it when Alabama did so many positive things, but it will drag this team down to irrelevance if it can’t be fixed. Not only does the Tide lack someone who can consistently knock down open shots, it struggles to get in solid scoring position, as evidenced by only 11 assists on 23 field goals. Dazon Ingram and Corban Collins are developing nice chemistry in the backcourt, but pairing them together so much makes it hard for Collins to play the point solo and give Ingram some rest. Dayton shot 54.5 percent for the game but was virtually unstoppable after cutting down its turnovers in the second half, scoring 46 points after the break.
What was the best part?: Seeing which players stepped up in a pressure situation. Ingram and Collins found another gear in the closing minutes, combining for 29 points. But freshman Braxton Key was also in attack mode on both ends and started getting shots to fall down the stretch after working himself into good position all game. He had 15 points and a team-high six rebounds in 26 minutes and is clearly the future at power forward, even though graduate transfer Bola Olaniyan got the surprise start over Shannon Hale.
Who was the star?: Despite having his hands full with Dayton star Scoochie Smith, Ingram turned in a strong showing. He matched Key’s 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the field and had a game-high seven assists.
What’s next?: Alabama concludes a three-game homestand Friday at 8 p.m. Central against Ball State on SEC Network.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris
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