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Crimson Tide basketball team shakes off slow start to roll past Ball State (via Crimson Magazine)

19 Nov 2016 Stan J. Griffin

By Stan J. Griffin: November 18, 2016

It took a while for Avery Johnson's University of Alabama basketball team to get started offensively Friday night against Ball State in Coleman Coliseum, as both the Crimson Tide and James Whitford's Cardinals went nearly the first five minutes of the contest without scoring a point.
But once Tide senior forward Shannon Hale, junior guard Ar'Mond Davis and company began to find their range, UA was able to settle in and ultimately roll to a 77-59 victory, with 11 players getting in the scoring column.
Hale led the way for Johnson's team as he tallied a game-high 19 points, while also contributing four rebounds, two steals, one assist and a block.  Davis matched his UA career-high 17 points, including five 3-pointers.
Alabama as a team hit 12 treys on the night.
The Tide improved to 2-1 on the young season in the second game of the Las Vegas Main Event while the Cardinals fell to 1-2.
"It was a really good bounce-back win for us tonight,” Johnson said. “One of the things we stressed was defending the three-point line. Teams have been shooting over 40 percent on us from the three-point line. We did a great job of contesting them at the line and closing out help-side defense. We got off to a little bit of a slow start offensively, but our defense was good. Then we got a huge boost from the guys that came off the bench. I am proud of our team.”
The start of the game was rough, as both teams went for a combined 0-of-11 before  then proceeding to go for a combined 9-of-11 after that early dry spell.
Alabama went up early 7-3, with Hale scoring five of those points, before the visitors tied the game at 7-7.
The Tide led only 15-14 when Alabama used a 6-0 spurt to build the advantage to 21-14, and Hale capped that run with a 3-point bomb and by this point he already had tallied 13 points.

With Ball State still hanging around, trailing only 27-21, freshman Braxton Key spurred a 9-0 Tide run to build the lead to 36-21 at the 2:44 mark of the first half. Ball State scored the last five points of the half, but Alabama still had a comfortable 36-26 lead at the intermission.
Alabama led 38-28 early in the second half when redshirt freshman guard Dazon Ingram paced the Tide on a 10-0 run that swelled its lead to 48-28 with just less than 17 minutes remaining. Junior forward Riley Norris capped that run with a tip in off an offensive rebound.
After Ball State scored seven in a row to make the score 48-35, Alabama scored 14 of the next 16 points to make the lead a commanding 62-37 at the 11:01 mark. Avery Johnson Jr.  and Davis both scored five points each in that huge run.
With just about eight minutes left in the game and Alabama still enjoying a huge 70-41 advantage, UA students began to chant for sophomore guard and fan favorite Lawson Schaffer to enter the contest. Schaffer did eventually enter the contest with about two minutes remaining the game.
Ball State scored the final six points of the game, but never got any closer down the stretch in the second half than the final margin of 18 points.
Johnson Jr. added 13 points for the Tide while Ingram had eight.
Jimmie Taylor, Ingram and Johnson Jr. all had five rebounds to lead the Tide while Taylor also had two blocks.
Johnson Jr. completed his good all-around night with six assists, a block and three steals.
Tayler Persons led Ball State with 15 points.
The Tide also forced 21 turnovers that resulted in 26 points, compared to six points-off-turnovers for Ball State.
The Tide will be back in action on Monday, Nov. 21, when it travels to Las Vegas, Nev., to take on Valparaiso at 11 p.m. CT in the third game of the Las Vegas Main Event. 

Special thanks: Alabama Athletics Communications

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