After suffering its first loss of the season, the Alabama men’s basketball team (6-1) will look to bounce back when it faces the Dayton Flyers (5-2) on Wednesday, Dec. 1 in Coleman Coliseum. The game will tipoff at 8 p.m. and will be televised on CSS.
This marks the second consecutive season that the two teams face off on the basketball court. Last year, the Flyers defeated the Tide 74-62 in Dayton, Ohio; Dayton has won its last six games against SEC schools, dating back to 2008. This season marks the first time the two squads will compete in Tuscaloosa.
“We’re looking forward to an opportunity to get back on the court, obviously coming off of a tough loss on the road,” head coach Anthony Grant said. “I think the game in Cincinnati gave our team an opportunity to learn a lot about ourselves in terms of what we do well and areas that we need to improve.”
Grant said Dayton is extremely impressive, and his team has tremendous respect for the Flyers.
“They’re an aggressive team. I think they play with great energy, a very well-coached team,” he said. “They have a system and a philosophy defensively that’s very good just in terms of how they guard. They play really good team defense. You’ve just got to be able to make good decisions and take care of the basketball.”
Through seven games this season, Alabama has held its opponents to 54.9 points per game, which ranks second in the SEC. But the Tide has still struggled on the glass.
“We’ve got to rebound and get all of the loose balls,” sophomore guard Trevor Lacey said. “That’s what really kills us.”
Grant also said the team needs to do a better job of generating fouls from its opponents. The Tide only shot three free throws in the game versus Cincinnati.
Home court advantage could help Alabama in the contest, just as it did the Flyers a year ago.
Last season, Lacey and his teammates experienced a hostile environment in Ohio that affected the game and, ultimately, the outcome.
“It was very loud,” Lacey said. “I didn’t hear a play that we called. I was just out there playing like a chicken with my head cut off.”
Not only did Dayton defeat Alabama last season, but it did so in Grant’s return to his alma mater. But Grant was persistent is deflating any hype surrounding this emotional matchup.
“The thing I’ve always said as a coach, every time we prepare, it’s never about me,” Grant said. “For me, it’s about preparing our team for a very good opponent. Everything else is secondary.”
Carl Engstrom and Andrew Steele are both unavailable. Engstrom injured his knee during the game against Cincinnati. Steele could possibly have a sports-related hernia.