Guards Collin Sexton and Dazon Ingram combined for 44 points, and Alabama needed every single one of them. The Crimson Tide squeaked out a win over Louisiana Tech, 77-74.
Ingram tied his career high at 22, while Sexton had his fifth 20-point game of the season, also scoring 22. Ingram, at times, carried Alabama’s offense when it need him the most. He wanted to take the game over.
“I just know that, as a veteran of the team, when the game starts to get out of hand, then it’s time for me to crank on to that next level,” Ingram said.
Sexton came on late for Alabama, and didn’t have his best game from an efficiency standpoint. In the first half, he only had eight points on 2-of-9 shooting for the game. He came back in the second half and scored 14, and iced the game with multiple clutch free throws big situations. He finished 6-of-19 from the field.
“It’s just a sign of maturity,” head coach Avery Johnson said of Sexton. “Maybe a month ago or two months ago, he wouldn’t have been able to respond in situations like this.”
It was the ugliest game of the season for Alabama thus far. There were a combined 67 free throws for both teams. Alabama had 21 total fouls in the game. Still, the Crimson Tide made crucial free throws late in the game to lift them over the Bulldogs. Alabama was 13-13 down the stretch to close out the game.
“We found a way to make our free throws, which was a great sign for us,” head coach Avery Johnson said. “Anytime we shoot 70-plus percent from the free throw line in a game, that bodes pretty well for us.”
Alabama had a sluggish start that extended into the second half.
The team went to the locker room down 39-37, and came out in the second half just as slow. Alabama made just two of its first 11 shots in the second half and had multiple turnovers. At one points, Alabama was down by as many as 11 points.
During that stretch, Alabama had a couple of calls that did not go its way. At one point, forward Herbert Jones fouled out on a questionable block call. Alabama did not complain and continued to attack the basket, despite not getting some of the calls it wanted.
“We just stayed aggressive,” Ingram said. “We kept attacking the rim. We knew we weren’t going to get any foul calls. Coach Avery, he’s a bad ref in practice, so we’re used to it.”
Even when they didn’t get the calls, it was Ingram that got Alabama back on track and Sexton who finished them off.
Outside of those two, Alabama got key minutes from some other players. Forward Donta Hall gave the crowd some energy with multiple big dunks down the stretch. He finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.
“Finishing at the rim, that’s something me and coach (John Pelphrey) and coach Avery have talked about for me that I have to do more of,” Hall said. “That’s where a lot of it comes from. Just finishing up and above the rim.”
Early on in the season, Alabama has shown that it can battle in tough games. The Crimson Tide is pulling out close wins that it may not have in previous season. Moving forward, Alabama will want to continue to battle.
When asked about what it means to pull out tough wins, Ingram said, ‘We like to win.”
Hall followed up quickly with, ”Facts.”
Alabama plays UCF at 1 p.m. CT in Coleman Coliseum.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports