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Key has big night to lead Crimson Tide basketball team over Buccaneers (via Crimson Magazine)

30 Nov 2016 Stan J. Griffin

By Stan J. Griffin: November 29, 2016

University of Alabama men's basketball coach Avery Johnson recently made the decision to insert freshman forward Braxton Key into the Crimson Tide's starting lineup, obviously hoping the move might translate into more production as well as a boost of energy.
On Tuesday night against the Big South Conference's Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Coleman Coliseum, Key provided all of that and then some for the Tide, helping the host team get off to a big start on the way to a convincing 76-46 victory before a crowd of 11,425.
Alabama improved to 4-2 on the season while Barclay Radebaugh's Bucs fell to 3-3.
"Tonight was one of our better first halves of the year," said Johnson. "A lot of points of emphasis in the game and talking about in practice and in our shootaround, and we executed in those areas and unfortunately they missed some shots and they got some decent looks, but for the most part we had a lot of closed window situations where they didn't have great looks at the basket. We did a nice job in transition and we didn't get in the bonus early like we normally do so we had a lot of good and consistent patterns of execution on both ends of the floor and I'm proud of the way our guys responded after the way we played on this last road trip (with two games in Las Vegas against Valparaiso and St. Louis)."
Key, sparking the Tide early and often, led Alabama with 14 points, including two 3-pointers, and also added six boards, three assists and two blocks.
"He's playing like a high-level player," said Johnson about the Charlotte, N.C. native. "He's a guy that we can use at three or four and we can move him to two. He can pass, dribble and shoot and he shows you every game why we were after him so much since the first day I basically got here in terms of recruiting."
"We know that Braxton is capable of doing that night in and night out," said junior forward Riley Norris. "We saw it every day in practice leading up to the season so it helps us out tremendously."
Sophomore Avery Johnson Jr. and junior Ar’Mond Davis finished the contest with 11 and 10 points, respectively.


Key hit two early treys, and the Crimson Tide tallied the first 10 points of the contest before the Buccaneers finally hit their first bucket at the 15:15 mark of the first half.
After CSU trimmed the Tide lead to 12-5, Alabama scored the next nine points, including a three-point play by Norris and a trey by Johnson Jr., to extend the advantage to 21-5 at the 9:12 mark.
With the score at 21-10 after a brief flurry from the visitors, the Tide proceeded to score 15 of the next 17 points to build the lead to 36-12, and that run was capped by a three-point play by Corban Collins. Key also had six points in the big run.
At halftime the score was 40-15.
As the second half began, the Tide continued an 8-0 run, with Dazon Ingram scoring five of those eight points, including a trey. This swelled the lead to 45-15.
CSU had an 8-3 run in the second half that made the score 52-27 at the 13:10 mark, but Alabama answered that with a 13-1 spurt, capped by a three-point play by senior Shannon Hale, that ballooned the advantage to 65-28 with less than nine minutes left.
Alabama coasted from that point and the biggest eruption of the night from the Tide crowd occurred with only 28 seconds left when seldom-used sophomore guard Lawson Schaffer stepped up and hit a long 3-pointer for UA's final points of the contest.
Ingram added nine points and four assists and Donta Hall led the Tide with seven rebounds.
The Crimson Tide nailed 46 percent of its shots from the field in the 40 minute contest, while shooting 36 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide’s defense was solid, as it tallied 11 steals and six blocked shots.
Alabama returns to action on Friday, Dec. 3, when it travels to Austin, Texas, to take on the Texas Longhorns in a game that is set to broadcast on ESPNU at 8:30 p.m. CT.

Special thanks: Alabama Athletics Communications

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