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Alabama Men’s Basketball Uses Second Half Surge to Defeat Lipscomb, 86-64, in Home Opener

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Photo courtesy of Alabama athletics

The No. 25 Alabama men’s basketball team defeated Lipscomb, 86-64, in its 2017-18 home opener Tuesday night in from of 12,325 fans at Coleman Coliseum.

Four Crimson Tide players reached double figures led by freshman Collin Sexton’s 22 points in his Alabama debut, while fellow classmate John Petty added 14 points, six rebounds and three assists. Sophomore Dazon Ingram added 13 points, seven boards and five assists and junior Donta Hall had a solid all-around game with 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and three blocks on the night.

“First of all, I’ll contain my opening statement to our fans that attended the game tonight,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “There have been a lot of fans who have been Alabama basketball fans long before I got here. I see a lot of those folks in the grocery stores and restaurants all around the city. They tell me their stories about the good old days at Alabama in terms of basketball. I would like to thank them for coming tonight. I also really want to thank our student section. That student section was packed tonight. I talked to a couple fraternity houses yesterday and I encouraged them to bring out their friends and they played their part.

“I am overall proud of our team, much better effort in the second half. We made some shots. Obviously we left a lot of points on the board at the free throw line, but they are all correctable. Overall, I’m proud of our guys.”​

Alabama shot a blistering 59.6 percent (34-of-57) on the night, including 62.1 percent in the second half alone. On defense, sophomore Daniel Giddens and Hall protected the paint, each blocking three shots, while holding Lipscomb to just 32.9 percent shooting from the floor and 25.9 percent from deep. In all, the Tide defense swatted 10 shots and had nine steals.

The win marked the eighth straight season that the Crimson Tide (2-0) has opened the home slate with a victory.

After a back-and-forth start to the contest, junior Avery Johnson Jr. came off the bench to and ignite an offensive spark, providing seven points in five minutes to give the Tide a 28-22 lead with 7:38 left on the clock. The Tide continued to tack on points, extending its lead by 38-29 after freshman Galin Smith hit an inside jumper with 3:45 left in the first stanza. Lipscomb (2-1) knocked down two free-throws down the stretch to cut Alabama’s lead to 38-31 to end the half.

Despite the game seeing five lead changes in the first half, the Tide shot 57 percent from the field, with Alabama’s bench outscoring Lipscomb’s reserves, 15-6.

Lipscomb came out of the break on the attack, using a 9-1 spurt to cut Alabama’s lead to 41-40, but Sexton halted the Bison’s run as he scored four straight points for the 45-42 advantage with 15:18 left on the clock. The Tide began to get into a rhythm, hitting 10 straight field goals to stretch their lead to 16 points with less than six minutes left in the contest. Alabama ended the game on an 18-8 spurt over the final few minutes to result in the final score.

Alabama dominated the paint, outscoring Lipscomb 50-22 in the category. The Tide’s bench turned in a sound performance, doubling the offensive output of Lipscomb, 24-12.  In transition, Alabama outscored the Bison, 16-2, in fast break points.

The Crimson Tide will return to action Friday night when it hosts Alabama A&M at 6 p.m. CT in Coleman Coliseum.  The game will be televised on SEC Network+.

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