Grant Says Focus On Beating Dayton

It's easy to make the connection. The Alabama men's basketball team is playing basketball tonight at Dayton. Crimson Tide Coach Anthony Grant is a Dayton alumnus. Thus, a feel-good homecoming, right? Well, no.

The suggestion of homecoming brought a long, cool silence from Alabama Coach Anthony Grant prior to the Crimson Tide's departure for Dayton and tonight's game, which tips off at 6 p.m. CST.

Finally, Grant said that he had great respect for the history and tradition of Dayton basketball, but that his focus is on this game. "I have been concentrating on the opponent," he said.

Alabama is 7-1 and ranked 15th in the nation in one poll, 16th in another after losing its first game of he season last week, a 57-55 loss to Georgetown on a final seconds three-point shot. Dayton is 5-3 and trying to come out of a skid in which the Flyers have lost back-to-back home games to Buffalo and Murray State.

Grant said it appears that Bama players have rebounded from the loss. He said that practices have been good.

Alabama had a particularly rough offensive outing against the zone defense of Georgetown and Grant said the issue of attacking the zone had been addressed in work this week.

Although this is the first game of the year on an opponent's home court for Alabama, the Tide has three victories away from Tuscaloosa, winning the Puerto Rico Tipoff Classic with three wins in San Juan. Dayton also has a tournament win, the Old Spice Classic in Orlando with victories over Wake Forest, Fairfield, and Minnesota.

"They have a very talented team," Grant said. "They have good depth and seem to shoot the ball well."

Alabama again appears to be an outstanding defensive team, and Grant said, "The key for us starts on the defensive end. You've got to be able to keep them out of transition and guard the three-point line."

Alabama is allowing just 53.1 points per game, seventh best in the nation this season. Only two Tide opponents have reached the 60-point mark and three have failed to score as many as 50 points. Bama holds opponents to 33.3 per cent shooting on field goals, fifth best in the nation. Davton averages 70.4 points per game and has been shooting 44.1 per cent from the field.

The Flyers have four players averaging in double figures, led by Ken Dillard and 12.4 points per game. An interesting statistic is that Dayton averages 23.8 three-point attempts per game.

Grant said that Alabama can be expected to start the same lineup that has been in place through most of the season -- post player JaMychal Green, forward Tony Mithcell, point guard Trevor Releford, and freshmen wing players Levi Randolph and Rodney Cooper.

Bama returns home to host Detroit at 5 p.m. CST Sunday in Coleman Coliseum.

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