Stuart McNair

Alabama can’t hold on to first half lead hosting Dayton

Newcomers Braxton Key and Corban Collins lead Alabama

Alabama and Dayton made it as exciting as could be expected as the Crimson Tide hosted the Flyers in a made-for-television noon basketball game in Coleman Coliseum. But in a game slowed by way too many fouls and free throws, Bama couldn’t quite get over the hump and fell by 77-72.

The Flyers, who are receiving votes in this week’s basketball polls, are now 2-0, while Bama fell to 1-1.

Coach Avery Johnson’s Tide completes its three-game homestand to open the season when the Tide hosts Ball State at 8 p.m. Friday. SEC Network will televise the game.

It took some 90 minutes to play the 40 minutes of basketball as the teams were whistled for 48 fouls. Both teams made 20 free throws, Dayton shooting 33, the home team trying 30.

But it was the other shooting that doomed the Tide. Bama got 15 more shots from the field (59-44) on the strength of winning the rebounding battle (40-28), but the Flyers were good on 54.4 per cent of their shots, 24-44, while Alabama shot 39 per cent (23-59). Dayton also was sharper on three-point shooting, 9-18 to 6-23 (26 per cent).

Newcomers Corban Collins and Braxton Key led the Tide with 15 points each while Dazon Ingram had 14.

Scoochie Smith led the Flyers with 20 points and Charles Cooke had 19, including 9 free throws.

Alabama outscored Dayton in the paint (32-30), off turnovers (12-10), on second chance opportunities (12-9), and on fast breaks (6-4). The Tide bench outscored the Dayton reserves by 27-12.

Alabama had a 36-31 lead at the half with Dayton not catching up until the Flyers connected on a three-pointer to make it 49-49 with just under 12 minutes to play. Bama went back in front, but Dayton retook the lead at the seven-minute mark before the game was tied at 58-58 with five minutes to go.

With 2:28 to play, an Ingram assist for a Key baseline layup put Bama on top, 64-63, but it was shortlived and the Tide never got back in front.

Trailing 72-69, Alabama called a timeout and inserted D’Armond Davis. After the Tide missed a three-pointer and Dayton made two more free throws, Davis hit a desperation trey with just 8 ½ seconds to play to cut the deficit to two points at 72-74. But Dayton got a runout basket and a free throw for the final margin.

Alabama held a 36-31 halftime lead, and it was free throw shooting that provided that five-point margin.

The Crimson Tide started fast, opening up an 8-point lead at 10-2, but then had five trips with no points before finally getting a free throw. In the meantime, Dayton had tied the game at 10-10 and soon after had taken it out to a 5-point lead at 18-13. The Flyers had out-scored Bama 16-3 since trailing 2-10.

A three-point shot by Corban Collins tied the game at 20-20 with six-and-a-half minutes to play in the first half, and Jimmie Taylor’s short baseline jumper a half minute later gave the Tide a 22-20 lead.

Alabama would hold the lead the remainder of the half.

Bama shot only 37 per cent from the field, but made 12-18 free throws while the visitors were 6-10 from the foul line. Dayton and Alabama both had 10 first half field goals with the Flyers hitting 5-10 and Bama 4-13 on three-pointers. The Tide had out-rebounded Dayton by 20-14 and forced 8 Flyers turnovers to 5 for the Tide.

TIDE NOTES: Alabama altered its starting lineup from the season-opener against Coastal Carolina last week. The Tide went with Dazon Ingram at point guard, Corban Collins and Riley Norris on the wings, Bola Olaniyan at power forward, and Jimmie Taylor at center.

Alabama is now 1-4 all-time against Dayton, including 0-2 in Coleman Coliseum.

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Bama had won 16 consecutive non-conference games going back to last season before Tuesday.

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