TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Alabama men's basketball team saw its season come to a close with a 71-64 loss to Richmond in the opening round of the 2017 National Invitation Tournament. The Tide finishes the season with a 19-15 record including a 10-8 mark in Southeastern Conference play.
Senior Corban Collins led the team with 19 points and five made three-pointers. Redshirt freshman Dazon Ingram followed close behind with 11 points to go with six assists without a turnover. Senior Bola Olaniyan finished with a game-high seven rebounds to help Alabama own a 33-27 advantage on the glass. "It was a tough loss tonight," Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. "Give Richmond credit. They did a heck of job. They came in ready to play and they really wanted to win the game so let's give them credit. They shot the ball well. They're a small team that moves around a lot. (ShawnDre') Jones gave us problems all night and (De'Mont) Buckingham obviously had a great first half. They back cut us a little bit too much but we just didn't have that eye of the tiger early on in the game. We bounced back in the second half, but we just didn't have enough offensively against Richmond tonight. Take your hats off to them. It just wasn't one of our better games.
"We've had some really good games here recently, but we just couldn't get over the hump tonight. I feel bad for our seniors because obviously if we could've won this game, we would've had another home game based on the bracket in the NIT with Oakland winning. I really wanted our 20th win tonight, I thought that would've been great. The crowd showed up. We had 4,000 fans but it felt like 14,000. Thank everybody for coming out tonight and trying to inspire our team to win."
Alabama jumped out to an early 9-6 lead, however, the Spiders went on a 12-2 run over span of 3:12 to take an 18-11 lead. The Tide scored seven unanswered points to tie the game, but Richmond (21-12) used another 18-9 run spanning six and a half minutes to take a 36-27 lead with 2:17 to play. Alabama scored five more points to close the half trailing 36-32 at the break.
Alabama started the second half on a 7-0 run which, combined with the end of the first half, made for a 12-0 Tide spurt to take a 39-36 lead with 18:57 to play. The Spiders once again would respond, this time scoring six consecutive points to regain the lead, but a Collins' three-pointer tied the game at 42-42 with 15:51 on the clock.
The teams traded baskets for the next 10-plus minutes with neither team taking more than a five-point lead.
With the game tied at 51-51 with 5:16 remaining, the Spiders scored six consecutive points while holding the Tide scoreless over a span of 4:47 to build a 67-61 lead. Collins finally ended the Alabama drought with a three-pointer with 29 seconds to play that cut Richmond's lead to 67-64. However, Richmond made two free throws and capped the game with a steal and a dunk on the Tide's final possession to result in the final score.
Alabama outrebounded the Spiders, 33-27, while holding their bench scoreless and picking up 35 points from its reserves. Richmond's defense recorded seven steals and held the Tide to just 29 percent from beyond the arc.