If it moved, Rhode Island fouled it.
If it clanged off the rim, Alabama rebounded it.
If it bounced, Alabama threw it away.
It all added up to a physical but ultimately fulfilling game for the Crimson Tide, which survived its turnovers and an injury that sidelined Collin Sexton much of the game, holding off the Rams 68-64 to take an important non-conference win at Coleman Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Dazon Ingram, who had 10 points and 14 rebounds, finally iced the game with a pair of free throws with 6.6 seconds remaining, allowing Alabama to stave off a Ram rally that saw Alabama lose all of a 13-point lead in the final 12 minutes before hanging on at the end.
Donta Hall also had a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
“We saw in film study that we were a lot bigger than them at pretty much every position,” Alabama freshman John Petty said of Alabama’s 50-31 rebounding edge. “So Coach told us to crash every time.”
“I like watching Rhode Island when there is not an SEC game on,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “Hard-nosed, East Coast team — I can identify with that. But we played much harder than we did in our last game.
“It was attitude and also the coaches have started to specify who we want to go to the offensive glass,”Johnson said. “We always want them to go hard to the defensive boards and they did that tonight.”
That edge made up for the Crimson Tide’s 24-12 turnover deficit.
“We knew they were a young team that was kind of loose with the basketball,” said URI coach Don Hurley, whose team fell to 5-3. “Twenty-four turnovers is a lot. But we couldn’t make anything.”
Alabama (7-2) led for much of the first half, despite turning the ball over 14 times. The Crimson Tide also played the last 6:39 of the half without Sexton, who was poked in the eye by URI guard Fatts Russell.
Sexton returned in the second half and, after URI had rallied to tie the game at 56-56 with 3:09 remaining, hit an answering 3-pointer (one of just two for the Crimson Tide in the game) that gave Alabama a lead it did not relinquish down the stretch.
In addition to Hall and Ingram, Alabama got 12 points from Petty and Daniel Giddens. Jarvis Garrett of URI led all scorers with 18 points.
Alabama will be back in action Saturday at Arizona.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0225.