In several games this season, the University of Alabama men’s basketball team has been looking for one consistent offensive option. On Wednesday night, it had two – and it made a huge difference.
Dazon Ingram and Braxton Key combined for 41 points – including a combined 16 of 21 shots from the field – to lift Alabama to a 70-55 win over Ole Miss in its regular season home finale at Coleman Coliseum. Ingram had 22 points and Key had 19 points and seven rebounds.
“They were both very efficient,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “A few mistakes, but not too many. When Braxton and Dazon are on their game, that takes us to another level.
“I told them, let’s show our fans some appreciation by not having to come into this press conference after the game and talk about getting off to a slow start, or not being ready to play. I drilled that into them and they responded.”
The Crimson Tide got a first-half spark from infrequently used walk-on Lawson Schaffer. The popular sophomore from Cullman came in with Alabama trailing 23-18 and hit a 3-pointer that helped ignite UA on an 11-2 run to end the half. UA led 29-25 at intermission.
“That sparked us and got us going,” Ingram said. “He’s a fan favorite and when he hit that three, the crowd went wild and got us all going.”
“After we watched film this morning, I told our guys I was going to write something on the board and have them vote on it…so I told them that at some point in the first half, after one of the media timeouts, that I was going to put Lawson Schaffer in the game. I told them it wasn’t a joke, and they really didn’t get to vote on it.
“So I did. It wasn’t going to hurt us. Then he made that shot, which was huge for us. So my Twitter is going to blow up with people from Cullman (Schaffer’s home town) telling me I should have been doing that all year.”
Alabama (17-12, 10-7 SEC) started the second half on a 15-6 run and never trailed again.
“We were just looking for a spark, something to get us going,” Andy Kennedy, the Ole Miss coach said. “We got it down to five points but they scored off a loose ball, hit a couple of shots at the end of the shot clock and the game gets away from us.
“You’re not going to come on the road and score 55 points and beat Alabama. You’re just not.”
Freshman guard Breein Tyree led Ole Miss (18-12, 9-8) with 14 points.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.