A depleted 24th-ranked Tide defeated Memphis 82-70 on Friday night in their season opener in Annapolis. Dazon Ingram elevated his play, having perhaps the best game of his ‘Bama career, leading the way to victory with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.
The Tide was playing without starting point guard Collin Sexton, shooting guard ArMond Davis, and wing players Riley Norris and Braxton Key. Sexton was serving a one-game NCAA suspension. Key had knee surgery on Wednesday. Norris is battling a hip injury, and Davis has a knee issue.
In addition to the four missing players, the Tide was handicapped by severe foul trouble, with an amazing 20 fouls called on the team in the first half. Daniel Giddens, Herbert Jones, and Galin Smith all had three fouls at intermission, while Alex Reese, Donta Hall, John Petty, Avery Johnson,Jr., and Lawson Schaffer all were charged with two.
Somehow ‘Bama was able to take a 38-36 lead into the half after a 14-3 run. Schaffer was pressed into a larger role and responded with nine first-half minutes and came through with a career-high five points and some nice defense. Reese played 16 first half minutes and had six points and seven rebounds. Dazon Ingram led the way at the break with 12 points and five assists. The Tide shot 42% in the first half, including 33% from three-point range, while hitting 7-12 from the line.
Memphis shot 38% and missed all six of their their three-point shots -- and converted only 12-21 (57%) from the free throw line. Alabama was not much better, hitting just 58% from the stripe at half. And freshman scorer John Petty was held without a point, while Daniel Giddens had a fairly ugly, also-scoreless stat line at the break, as well.
Fortunately, the Tide came out blazing in the second half and quickly seized control of the game. Petty and Jones finally got involved and went back and forth, taking turns nailing three-point shots. Ingram continued his stellar game, and Hall had one of the best games of his career, tallying 11 points and 11 rebounds while adding five blocked shots. Ingram’s 20 points led five Tide players in double digits, as Johnson finished with 13, Jones notched 12 and Petty added 11.
For the game, the Tide shot 26-57 (46%), including 11-27 (41%) from-three point range. The team shot 19-28 (68%) from the free throw line and grabbed 40 rebounds, blocked seven shots, had eight steals, 16 assists and 16 turnovers. Memphis shot only 38% (23-60) and an anemic 12% (2-17) from three-point range. The Tigers were 22-36 ( 61%) from the free throw line. Unusually, ‘Bama was outrebounded by the Tigers, 43-40.
This was a good win against an athletic, fast team. With all the obstacles the team faced, from the missing players to the extreme foul trouble, they handled things very well. Ingram was steady and under control, Hall was a beast, and Reese showed flashes of being a force inside and even knocked down a couple of three point shots. Petty and Jones showed that when they get paired with Sexton, the sky’s the limit.
Sexton will be back in action on Tuesday when the Tide open their home season against Lipscomb. Norris should be back soon, and Key is already on the exercise bike just two days after surgery. All-in-all this is shaping up to be a special season for this team, as long as they can get, and stay healthy. Exciting times at Coleman.
RTR and Buckle Up
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