TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Alabama lost its second straight game Wednesday night, trailing almost the whole way in an 81-76 loss to Dayton.
Some bits and pieces:
–Dayton, an Atlantic 10 school, has won seven straight against SEC schools and is 7-3 against BCS leagues under Archie Miller, who is in his second season at the school. Those wins include Alabama (twice), Auburn, Boston College, Minnesota, Ole Miss and Wake Forest.
“I wish we played in those leagues because we’re not as good in our league. The fact that they’re a BCS league just means they have a football stadium,” said Miller, whose team was 9-7 in the A-10 last year and finished sixth.
–The defense wasn’t good for Alabama, giving up 81 points. Miller predicted the Tide wouldn’t give up that many the rest of the year.
Alabama coach Anthony Grant said his team was beaten in all phases.
–Alabama point guard Trevor Releford had 12 points but didn’t score a field goal until fewer than four minutes were left. Grant said Dayton’s defense made dribble penetration hard, which is Releford’s strength.
–Alabama center Moussa Gueye went down hard in the second half and came out of the game, limping slightly. Grant said Gueye landed awkwardly on his knee and would’ve been available near the end had Alabama needed him. However, Grant said he wasn’t able to offer a more complete update.
–Alabama made 29 of 32 foul shots, which helped keep the Tide in the game.
–Grant opening comment: “I thought Dayton was the better team tonight. They came out right from the tip and set the tone with the pace of the game. They really hurt us in transition and our press was extremely ineffective. They were able to take advantage of opportunities in the press and in the half court, they were able to exploit some things. We just didn’t do a very good job of defending in any facet today. On the other end of the floor they were more physical, just a little tougher in terms of what they were able to do to win the game.”
–Grant on slow starts to both halves: “Those are things that we’ve tried to address all year long. We talked about it before the game and our guys are aware about the need for us to come out and start well and we had an inability to do that tonight. As a basketball team that’s what’s going to allow us to be successful. I thought the three-point line was the difference in the game. In the first half they were 7 for 13 and the transition opportunities were huge. We weren’t able to get any stops in the second half, and at the 11-minute mark they were shooting 75 percent from the field. So give them credit, they had an answer for everything that we threw at them today. They played extremely well and as a basketball team, right now we have to do some soul searching and understand what it takes to win competitive games like this against quality teams.”