Dingle lifts Penn to 81-80 opening win over Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Penn freshman Jordan Dingle saw just what he needed before he hit a game-winning shot in his first career game.

Dingle scored 24 points and hit a jump shot with six seconds left, lifting Penn to an 81-80 win over Alabama Tuesday night.

 “I saw an opportunity. In the huddle, Coach Donahue said if you see an opportunity don’t hesitate,” Dingle said. “I saw the defender bite a little bit, so I made it to the basket and didn’t hesitate.”

 Kira Lewis Jr. missed two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining after hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer and scoring 30 points.

 The Quakers spoiled the debut of Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats. AJ Brodeur finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds for Penn.

 “Taking a loss early isn’t always the worst as long as your guys are resilient enough to come back,” Oats said. 

 Lewis made a 3 with 20 seconds left for Alabama but Dingle gave Penn back the lead. Lewis couldn’t convert from the line with a chance to tie or take the lead.

 “It’s tough to lose like that, but you just gotta keep moving forward,” Lewis said. “After this, I’m going to have to go shoot some free throws because I just can’t live with not making free throws at the end of the game.”

Ryan Betley scored 12 points for Penn and Eddie Scott had 10.

Freshman guard Jaden Shackleford scored 16 points for the Tide. James Bolden, a graduate transfer from West Virginia, had 10 in his Alabama debut.

 The Tide led by six with four minutes to go in the first half, but Penn started a 24-11 run that extended into the second half. 

The Tide struggled defensively after top defender Herbert Jones left the game in the first half with an elbow injury. Jones did not return in the second half.

 Oats said Jones hyperextend his elbow and will get an MRI in the morning to determine the severity of the injury.

Alabama was 11 of 38 from 3-point range and made just four in the second half.

 Penn head coach Steve Donahue said his team’s age and experience were an asset in the final frantic minutes. 

“I thought their kids did a great job,” Donahue said. “I just think we’re older and more experienced in this setting at this point. I thought that was an advantage down the stretch.”

 BIG PICTURE

Penn: Penn picks up its first win over an SEC opponent since the 1996-97 season. The Quakers outscored the Tide in the paint 42-30.

Alabama: The Crimson Tide will have to regroup after a deflating one-point loss in their season opener.

TURNING POINT

John Petty tipped the ball in for Alabama with 52 seconds left to tie the game at 79-79, but the basket was waved off for offensive goal tending. After a lengthy review by the officials, the call stood and momentum shifted back to the Quakers.

UP NEXT

Penn faces Rice in Houston on Saturday and looks to start a winning streak.

Alabama hosts Florida Atlantic on Monday night and tries to pick up their first victory.