Dayton Humiliates Tide Basketball

Maybe it's Ohio. Alabama went to Cincinnati last week and fell behind by double digits in the opening moments of the game and was unable to overcome the cold start. Wednesday night Bama hosted Dayton and was down by down by 13-2 before the game was five minutes old and the result was humiliation for the Crimson Tide.

Although Alabama made a run to get back into the game for a brief time in the second half, Dayton embarrassed Bama with an aggressive offensive and defensive attack that resulted in a 81-76 win for the Flyers in Coleman Coliseum.

Alabama's second consecutive loss came after six wins to open the season. Dayton improved to 6-2.

The final score was not indicative of how thoroughly Dayton handled Alabama. The Flyers answered every Tide flurry. Dayton had a double digit lead almost the entire game including an 11-point lead with a minute to play. Trevor Lacey made a trey at the buzzer to make it look more competitive than was the case, but most of the sparse crowd was not there to see it.

Dayton hit 26-53 from the field (49.1 per cent) and 8-19 on three-point shots (42.1 per cent) and also made 21-27 free throws (77.8 per cent). Alabama was held to 20-54 field goal shooting (37 per cent), including 7-25 on treys (28 per cent). The best thing the Tide did was shoot free throws, 29-32, 90.6 per cent. Dayton out-rebounded Alabama 37-28. The Flyers had 15 assists to 10 for the Tide. Bama had only eight turnovers and blocked seven shots, compared to Dayton having 14 turnovers and only three blocks.

Dayton outscored Alabama in the paint, 28-26, and on fast break points, 6-2. The Tide had 15 points off turnovers, the Flyers 8. Bama had 11 second chance points, Dayton 10.

Alabama got 16 points from Trevor Lacey, 15 from Levi Randolph, 13 from Releford, and 12 from Rodney Cooper, who also led the Tide with seven rebounds.

Dayton got 25 points from Dillard, 19 from Josh Benson, and 13 from Vee Sanford.

Dayton Coach Archie Miller said, "Obviously it was a really good win for our team. We have a lot of respect for Alabama. We have a lot of respect for Coach Grant. But we started aggressive and I thought it carried over. You have to have play-makers who have to step up and not be afraid."

He was particularly pleased with the play of point guard Kevin Dillard, who he said controlled the game. Dillard scored 25 points and held Tide point guard Trevor Releford to 13 points on 2-8 field goal shooting and 8-8 free throws.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said, "I have to give all the credit to Dayton. They came out right from the jump and took control. We had no answer for anything they wanted to do. It's my job as coach to make sure the players know what they have to do. It's a tough loss and a learning experience for our team."

Alabama is in final examinations and thus does not play again until Dec. 15, when Bama goes to VCU. That game is part of the contract from when Bama hired Anthony Grant from Virginia Commonwealth.

Dayton hit 10 of its first 14 shots to start the second half, many of them beating Bama's press for easy layups, and had a 62-48 lead midway through the second half.

Alabama's press was white meat for the Flyers, who beat it time and again for easy shots. The Tide abandoned the press and its man-to-man defense for a zone look midway through the second half, but its effectiveness was short-lived.

After a 38-33 halftime lead, Dayton was never really challenged in the second half. The Flyers had it out to a 10-point lead seven minutes into the game and pulled out to as much as a 15-point advantage.

For the first 10 minutes of the game, the Flyers had their choice of shots. They could drive for unguarded layups or they could shoot unguarded three-point shots. Josh Benson drove for a layup, was fouled and made the free throw, and Dayton had a lead it would keep for most of the first half.

Dayton guards Kevin Dillard and Vee Sanford had hot shooting hands and helped the Flyers out to a lead that hovered around the 11-point mark until Bama made a charge midway through the stanza. The Tide caught the Flyers when Trevor Lacey made two free throws for a 26-25 lead.

When freshman Devona Pollard beat the shot-clock with a three-pointer, the Tide had a 31-30 lead that lasted about 10 seconds, the time it took Dayton to get the ball into the front court and hit another unguarded three-pointer. That was part of an Alabama slumber, offensively and defensively, that allowed the Flyers to run off eight straight points and take a 38-33 lead at intermission. Dillard scored five of the final eight points and assisted on the other three-pointer and had 17 points at halftime.

TIDE NOTES; As had been announced, forward Andrew Steele (groin) and center Carl Engstrom (knee) were held out of the game. In part because of injuries, Alabama has used seven different starting lineups in its eight games. The Tide has used a different starting five in each of the past five games. Trevor Lacey and Levi Randolph are the only Bama players who have started every game.

Alabama had moved close to the nation's top 25 before its loss at Cincinnati (which is now ranked 11th in the nation), and was still receiving some votes after that loss.

Dayton is the alma mater of Alabama Coach Anthony Grant.

Alabama had been 1-0 against Dayton, but the Tide lost at Dayton last year and is now 1-2, 0-2 under Grant, against the Flyers.

One Dayton player was not a newcomer to Coleman Coliseum. Matt Derenbecker, a 6-7 sophomore forward from Metarie, La., formerly played at LSU.

Alabama's next home game is not until Dec. 22, when the Tide hosts Mercer.

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