ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The No. 25 Alabama men's basketball team opened the season with an 82-70 victory over Memphis Friday night in the Veteran's Classic, hosted on the campus of the United States Naval Academy. Sophomore Dazon Ingram led all scorers with 20 points and junior Donta Hall recorded his first career double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds to go along with five blocks.
The Tide outscored the Tigers, 27-8, over an eight-minute span in the second half to take a 68-51 lead with 7:37 to play and never looked back. The stretch featured a 16-4 run that saw the Tide sink four consecutive three-pointers, bookended by a pair of dunks from Hall and freshman Galin Smith.
Alabama opened the game holding an early 7-2 lead but quickly ran into foul trouble. The Tide had seven team fouls in the first five minutes and reached double-digits with 12:26 on the clock. Memphis made the most of Alabama's mistakes and sparked a 19-6 run over 8:17 to take a 21-13 lead with 9:43 left in the first half. The Tide answered with a 14-3 run to regain a 27-24 lead with 3:19 on the clock and would finish the half, leading 38-36.
The Tide recorded 20 first half fouls, more than it totaled in 17 full games last season. Every Tide player went to the locker room with multiple fouls except for Ingram who collected just one and led Alabama with 12 points. Junior Lawson Schaffer saw plenty of time early, playing a career-high with nine minutes in the first half alone while tying his career high with five points.
Memphis came out of the break to regain a 43-41 lead with 16:36 on the clock before the Tide sparked its decisive run. The teams traded baskets down the stretch as Alabama held on to claim a 12-point victory despite missing three players to injury, while freshman Collin Sexton was also sidelined due to a one-game suspension by the NCAA. After running into early foul trouble, just one Alabama player, Smith, fouled out of the contest.
The Tide returns home to take on Lipscomb on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT, and the game will air on SEC Network.
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