Alabama showed off their depth on Thursday night defeating Faulkner 91-71 in the Crimson Tide's one and only exhibition game of the season. Five players scored in double digits, led by junior college transfer Ar'Mond Davis with 17. Point guard Dazon Ingram looked to be fully recovered from his broken foot that ended his season after seven games last year. Ingram had 15 points, five rebounds and three assists while committing five turnovers on the night. Memphis transfer Nick King scored 11 points and led the team with five assists with some nifty passes. Riley Norris scored 10 points on his birthday, and freshman Braxton Key tossed in 10 points and snared seven rebounds.
The Tide started a veteran lineup of Ingram, Norris, graduate transfer Corban Collins, Jimmie Taylor and Shannon Hale. All 13 players saw game action for 'Bama with 11 of them playing at least 10 minutes. Brandon Austin was limited to just three minutes after suffering a minor leg injury. Fan favorite Lawson Schaffer played the final two minutes of the game. Depth should be a big plus for this years team, as coach Avery Johnson favors a fast paced, uptempo game and plans on playing 12 guys on most nights.
Davis started the second half in Hale's spot and quickly showed why he was brought to Tuscaloosa, hitting three straight long three point shots. Collins was in foul trouble and fouled out after only 13 minutes. Norris and Taylor played very limited minutes in the second stanza, with Johnson saying " I saw enough of Shannon, Riley and Jimmie early on, I know what they can do, we wanted to see the new guys playing together more."
Key was very impressive, crashing the boards, scoring on put backs and layups, and handled the ball in a point-forward role. King had a good all-around game with his 11 point, five assist, four rebound game. Jumping jack Donta Hall had a typical game with four points, four rebounds and two blocks in his 13 minutes of play. Hall still tries to swat every shot into the stands, which at times leaves him out of position. The third post player, grad transfer Bola Olaniyan played 14 minutes and added seven points with three rebounds.
'Bama shot the ball at a 54% (33-61) clip, including 9 of 22 (40%) from three point range. Unfortunately, an Alabama weakness showed no improvement with a 16-27 night (59%) from the free throw line. The much bigger Crimson Tide out-rebounded Faulkner 41-32 with 13 offensive boards, both of which were weaknesses for the 2015-16 team. Logan Jozwiak showed a nice shooting touch for Faulkner and lead both teams with 21 points on 7-10 shooting. The Eagles were 24 of 57 for 42% and 10 of 30 (33%) from three point range.
Alabama had an impressive 22 assists on 33 baskets but also produced 12 turnovers. Johnson was pleased with the assist total but not with the turnovers. Although he did say he would take that ratio every game, after averaging more turnovers than assists a season ago.
Takeaways from the Game:
- Dazon Ingram is a star
- Braxton Key is a special talent
- Ar'Mond Davis can shoot the rock
- Nick King has a good all round game
- Riley Norris is a solid player
- It is nice to have a full roster, with versatile players that can play many positions, if Hale and Taylor scratch their potential with the new influx of talent, this team has a chance to do some damage.
Although an overmatched opponent, it was good to see the Tide playing someone in a different jersey. The depth will help Johnson play his preferred style and should lead to a better season, with a win total in the low 20's.
The regular season opener is Friday night, November 11th at 8 p.m. when Coastal Carolina comes to town on the eve of the Bama-MSU football game. The game can be seen on SEC Network Plus. (Watch ESPN App)
Roll Tide and Buckle Up!