Stuart McNair

Alabama men’s basketball team hosts Ball State Friday night

Alabama Basketball Coach Avery Johnson wants to see Tide ‘get back up’

How does Alabama’s loss to Dayton Tuesday affect the Crimson Tide going forward? “We’ll find out Friday night,” said Crimson Tide Coach Avery Johnson.

Alabama fell to Dayton in Coleman Coliseum by 77-72. Although that was quite an improvement from last year’s 38-point loss to the Flyers in Dayton, it was nevertheless disappointing.

Johnson said there was the possibility that Alabama would defeat Dayton, cited several times prior to the down-the-stretch minutes where Bama did not execute well. But following a win over Dayton could have produced complacency. As it turned out, the Crimson Tide lost to the Flyers. Now Johnson is interested to see if his team “will get back up and compete.”

That opportunity comes at 8 p.m. CST Friday against Ball State in Coleman Coliseum, the end of a three-game homestand to start the season. The game will be televised by SEC Network.

This will be the first meeting between Ball State and Alabama. It is part of the Las Vegas Main Event and both teams will go from Tuscaloosa to Las Vegas for the rest of the tournament. Alabama will play Valparaiso at 11 p.m. CST Monday (no television coverage) and either BYU or St. Louis Wednesday.

Alabama is 1-1 going into Friday’s game. Ball State also is 1-1 and coming off an 80-74 loss at the hands of Indiana State after handing St. Louis – the team that Bama could play in Las Vegas next Wednesday – by 85-64.

Johnson said that three Alabama regulars got a day off from practice Wednesday “for maintenance.” He rested point guard Dazon Ingram, wing guard Corban Collins, and wing forward Riley Norris. None, he said, were held out because of injuries, although all three have some issues. Ingram played 37 minutes against Dayton, and he’s coming off ankle surgery following a season-ending injury last year. Collins has a slight arm injury, And Norris “has about five ailments.”

All were to return to practice Thursday.

Collins, a graduate transfer, and true freshman Braxton Key led the Tide in scoring against Dayton with 15 points each. Ingram had 14 points.

Johnson said Key “is playing with a lot of confidence. It’s a product of what he does in practice. He’s doing a good job of coming off the bench and giving us a spark.”

Johnson listed two concerns from Tuesday’s game.

He said the Tide did a good job in getting offensive rebounds (18 of them), but didn’t turn those into points. He said the rebounder either needs to get the score and/or foul, or if he’s covered up with defenders to get the ball out to an open receiver.

And, he said, the players need to be more aware of situations. Hew said Bama players took 15 contested shots. “We need to do a better job of recognizing situations and making better decisions,” he said.

The loss to Dayton marked the 1,000th loss in Crimson Tide history. Bama’s all-time record is 1,619-1,000-1 – a winning percentage of 61.8.


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