Alabama 77, Ball State 59: Crimson Tide proves deadly from deep range

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Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: -

By Chris DePew
TideFans.com Staff
November 18,

found its touch from the 3-point line, draining a dozen treys and shooting better than 52 percent from long distance as routed Ball State 77-59 at Coleman Coliseum.

What did we learn today?: Just how sweet a luxury can be. got 59 points from its bench as 11 different scored and no one played more than 23 minutes. The numbers might have been skewed by sometimes starter Shannon Hale emerging from the bench with a game-high 19 points but only a little. Reserves Ar’Mond Davis and Avery Johnson Jr. combined for 30 points and the trio had all but one of Bama’s 3-pointers. After last year’s injury grind and transfer redshirts left Bama with little quality depth, seeing what can happen with a full roster is a revelation.

What was the best part of the game?: Re-establishing the ’s trademark defensive tenacity. Both teams wound up shooting an identical 42.6 percent from the field, but the generously padded their numbers in the closing moments after the game had gotten comically lopsided. More telling was Ball State’s futility from behind the arc (4-for-17), its first-half shooting percentage (31 percent) and its 21 turnovers, 14 of them on steals. After getting scorched by earlier this week, it was encouraging to see return to form against a veteran that can score in bunches.

Who was the star?: Hale’s breakout games can’t be predicted, only enjoyed in the moment. But he did more than just score. He piled up points efficiently (7-for-12, 3-for-5 3-pointers), grabbed four rebounds and contributed to the defensive lockdown. But Johnson’s career-best night was too good for him not to grab some of the spotlight. He had 13 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals, and for the first time looked like a genuine threat and not just a minutes filler for Dazon Ingram or Corban Collins.

What were the biggest concerns?: ’s nearly five-minute drought to open the game could have been disastrous had Ball State not matched it goose egg for goose egg. And free throw shooting continues to prop up antacid sales in the state, with the going a miserable 13-for-22 at the line.

What’s next?: Plug in the coffee pot and put fresh batteries in the radio. plays Monday night in Las Vegas in the semifinals of the MGM Grand Main Event. Tip time for the non-televised game is 11 p.m. Central.

Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris


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