Mama said there'd be days like this.
The Crimson Tide went into a hostile environment at noon on Tuesday against the Dayton Flyers, but didn't miss class as they were schooled to the tune of 80-48. In a rare moment of symmetry, Dayton outscored the Tide 40-24 in each half.
Both teams started out slow, missing many open shots while turning the ball over at a high rate. From a tie game of 18-18, the Flyers outscored 'Bama 62-30 the rest of the way. When the Tide wasn't missing wide open shots,their attempts were being swatted back in their faces by the Dayton defenders, to the tune of six blocks.
In the opening 20 minutes, Alabama shot 9-30 (30%) from the field, 2-8 (25%) from three point range and 4-6 from the free throw line, while Dayton was 13-33 (39.4%) from the field 5-13 (38.5%) from three and a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line.
In the second half the Tide went through a long dry spell, at one point missing 12 field goal tries in a row, on the way to making only 8-27(29.6%) shots in the half. Three point shooting was 3-12 and free throw shooting was only 5-11. Dayton was 15-27 (55%), 4-8 (50%) from three and 6-12 from the free throw line in the second half. 'Bama was beaten on the boards 47-34 and committed 20 turnovers, while forcing 18 turnovers by the Flyers. The Tides bench outscored the Flyers bench 29-26,while Dayton's starters outscored Bama's 54-19.
Riley Norris paced the Tide in scoring with nine points while Retin Obasohan,Michael Kessens and Donta Hall chipped in seven apiece. Arthur Edwards added five points, while starters Jimmie Taylor,Shannon Hale and Dazon Ingram combined for seven points between them. Hall grabbed six rebounds in his 20 minutes of action to lead the team, and was helped by Ingram with five. Ingram's four assist's were half of the teams total.
Charles Cooke had a 21 point, seven rebound performance to pace the Flyers,and was helped by 15 from Scoochie Davis and 13 points and 11 rebounds from big Steve McElvene. McElvene had his way inside, with little or no resistantance from Bama's inside players.
You have to look very hard to find any positives from today's game.
Kessens continued to shoot well, following up a 4-4 first game with a 3-4 performance today, his only miss on a blown dunk. Hall provided somewhat of a spark in his 20 minutes, with six boards, a block and a steal. He has the look of eventually being a force in the middle. Norris brought energy in his 23 minutes and all three of his rebounds were of the offensive variety.
On the negative side, Taylor, once again picked up two early fouls, both on moving screen calls. The NCAA has put an emphasis on the officials making that call this year, and early on they are complying with the directive.If this rule is going to be strictly enforced, a move to six personal fouls should follow. Taylor was only able to play 16 minutes and tallied three points, four rebounds and four turnovers. Hale looked disinterested, distracted and dastardly, shooting 1-7 while scoring two points with three rebounds, while committing six turnovers in 20 minutes of action. Obasohan tried to make things happen by driving to the basket, but had several shots put back in his face by the larger Flyer defenders.
Count this game among the growing pains that this team will encounter this year. Dayton is a very good team that reached the Elite Eight last year -- and they may be even better this year. A young team on the road in front of a full house of knowledgable basketball fans isn't a good recipe. One of the better moments of the second half was when the Dayton crown began chanting, "Stick to Football." Today's game also intensified Coach Johnson's plea that we need to buckle up, but it isn't going to happen over night. This team is probably about where most people expected, about a .500 team that can win anywhere from 15-18 games.
Say what you want about the Anthony Grant era, but his team wouldn't have lost in the same manner. Most often his teams stayed in the game long enough to just rip your heart out at the end, while not being able to get at shot off with a chance to win the game. We are looking at short term pain for long term gain, so instead of being a perpetual also-ran, 'Bama will take their lumps now, for payoff down the line. Terrance Ferguson eventually signing his letter of intent will go a long way to making those hopes and dreams come true. The Tide tips it off next on Friday at 7pm CST at home against Louisiana-Lafayette and will be available on SECN+ and local radio. Follow me @rogerpatmyers for live, in game updates.
Roll Tide, Buckle Up