Alabama’s stingy defense had an uninspiring effort its last time
out, and coach Anthony Grant’s team suffered a second consecutive
It could be difficult for the 16th-ranked Crimson Tide to bounce
back Sunday against a Detroit team that is looking to build on an
impressive offensive showing in Eli Holman’s season debut.
After losing to Georgetown 57-55 on Dec. 1, ending a 24-game
home winning streak, Alabama (7-2) fell 74-62 to Dayton on
Wednesday in its first true road game of the season.
The Tide let an opponent shoot better than 60 percent from the
field for the first time since 1997, as the Flyers finished at 60.9
percent and went 10 of 19 from 3-point range. Alabama had been
holding teams to 33.3 percent from the floor and 53.1 points per
game to rank among the nation’s top 10 in both categories.
None of its previous eight opponents had topped 44 percent
shooting or 64 points.
“We didn’t defend the way we needed to defend,” Grant said.
“We’re nine games in, our first road game, it’s an opportunity for
us to learn from it and get better.”
That might not be so easy, however, against a Detroit team that
reached the 90-point mark for the fourth time in its last game.
After beating St. John’s 69-63 on Monday, the Titans (5-6) shot
53.2 percent in Thursday’s 92-81 victory over Western Michigan.
Detroit reached the 50-point mark with 4:08 remaining in the first
half Thursday and led 61-39 at the break.
Thursday marked the long-awaited season debut of Holman, who had
been suspended for allegedly assaulting a student at a fraternity
party. The senior made an immediate impact, finishing with 21
points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots in 19 minutes off the
“It was very hard to be away from the guys, but just to be back
and be able to rebuild our chemistry is a great thing,” said the
6-foot-10 center, who averaged 11.8 points and a Horizon
League-best 9.6 rebounds last season.
Holman is one of three Detroit players named to the conference
preseason first team along with guards Ray McCallum and Chase
McCallum, the Horizon League preseason player of the year, is
averaging 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists in four games
this month. Simon is scoring a team-best 16.8 per game after
back-to-back 20-point outings.
Tony Mitchell leads Alabama with 15.4 points per game after
scoring a combined 39 in the two losses. Fellow forward JaMychal
Green averages 14.8 points and is shooting 66.7 percent over his
last four games.
Poor 3-point shooting continues to plague the Tide, hitting 22.0
percent from beyond the arc over the last six games – 8 for 43 over
the last three.
Alabama is among the SEC’s lowest-scoring teams at 68.0 points
per game, while the Titans average a Horizon-best 75.9.
Detroit has lost 17 straight against ranked teams since beating
then-No. 24 Butler 63-54 on Jan. 10, 2002, but three of its last
five such contests were decided by five points or less.
In their only game against a Top 25 opponent last season, the
Titans fell to then-No. 10 Syracuse 66-55 but had a three-point
halftime lead at the Carrier Dome.
In the only previous meeting between these programs, Alabama won
74-63 in the 2001 NIT semifinals.