Men's basketball defeats Faulkner 91-71

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Avery Johnson wants the basketball team to be faster and more aggressive on offense. CW | Amellia Armstrong

Tyler Waldrep

Ar’Mond Davis started his night 0-for-3 past the arc, but he didn’t let that stop him from attempting a fourth in the final minute of the first half.

His confidence in his shooting abilities paid off. That shot ended up being the first of four good 3-pointers for the newcomer as Davis finished with a team-high 17 points and six rebounds in Alabama’s 91-71 victory over Faulkner in the team’s only exhibition game.

“He thinks he can make it from anywhere, and you saw a little bit of a snapshot of it tonight,” coach Avery Johnson said.

Johnson said Davis’ first shot was good for the team’s momentum, but the 3-pointer the Alabama coach really wanted to discuss was the one Dazon Ingram made in the second half. Prior to tonight, Ingram’s first and final good 3-pointer came against Southern Mississippi last December before he went down with an injury that caused him to miss most of the season.

“[At that point] I had been on him to shoot it for seven games,” Johnson said. “Hopefully that will build some confidence, because you got to remember with him being a triple-double threat if he can make 3’s then he takes his game to a different level.”

Ingram finished with 15 points and five rebounds for Alabama in his first game back. He also finished the game with five turnovers. Some, if not most of which, came on miscommunications resulting in the Ingram passing the ball out of bounds.

After the game Ingram said it felt great to be back. He also spoke highly of teammate and true freshman Braxton Key.

“Braxton, he’s a heck of a player,” Ingram said. “He can crash the boards as y’all can see and he can finish around the rim and he’s going to be a major key for our team.”

Key finished the night with 10 points and a game-high seven rebounds. Key was one of six players to play their first game in Coleman Coliseum on Thursday night. All six, played at least 16 minutes except Corban Collins (13 minutes) who fouled out and Bola Olaniyan (14 minutes). Key and Davis played more than any of the others at 27 minutes apiece.

Key said it was great playing in front of the fans for the first time, and he seemed surprised that some of those fans already knew his name.

“There were some nerves in the beginning so I think I kind of played my way through it in the second half,” Key said. “Teammates were lifting me up saying ‘don’t worry about it just next play’ and stuff.”

None of the team’s returners played more than 15 minutes except Ingram (25 minutes). Johnson said this exhibition game was important because it gave him the chance to observe the new players and his injured returner.

The coaching staff can use film from Thursday’s exhibition to clean things up before the team’s first regular season game next Friday, but it won’t be enough for Johnson.

“I can kind of see what’s on the horizon of where we’re going and how young we could potentially be in some areas,” Johnson said. “…Next year would be a great year for us to shift, over the next two years, of playing two exhibition games.”