TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Collin Sexton and Dazon Ingram were hard to stop on drives to the basket, and there was no defending their free throws.
Sexton made four foul shots over the final 8 seconds, and Ingram had two big ones also, to lift No. 24 Alabama to a come-from-behind 77-74 victory over Louisiana Tech on Wednesday night.
“We can make free throws and we know that,” Ingram said. “We work hard in practice on making them and if we don’t make them then Coach Avery (Johnson’s) going to make us run. We just had to really lock in when they were needed down the stretch.”
The Crimson Tide (6-1) overcame an 11-point deficit over the last 14 minutes and held off the previously unbeaten Bulldogs (5-1).
Louisiana Tech’s Jacobi Harris missed a 3-pointer from the right wing and Jalen Harris grabbed the rebound and hit a layup with 2 seconds left to make it a 1-point game. Riley Norris heaved the inbounds pass across midcourt to Sexton, who made two free throws with just over 1 second left.
Ingram and Sexton, the Southeastern Conference’s leading scorer, led Alabama with 22 points each. Ingram made two foul shots with 27 seconds remaining and Alabama hit its last 13 free throws.
Johnson praised Ingram especially and also Sexton “for the way they dominated getting to the basket and making shots for us and making good decisions.” They were especially successful in the final minutes at the line.
“(Ingram) wasn’t perfect but boy he sure made them when we needed it,” Johnson said.
After Ingram’s makes, Louisiana Tech’s Joniah White grabbed an offensive rebound and drew the foul on the other end, making both foul shots with 9 seconds to play.
Louisiana Tech’s Derric Jean, who had hit the game-winning 3-pointer against Evansville, fired a Hail Mary pass on the final sequence. Harris just got off a potential tying 3-pointer that bounced off the rim.
“It’s a play that we practice,” Bulldogs coach Eric Konkol said. “We didn’t have a timeout and said if he makes the second free throw this is what we need to do. We really tried to get a tip out to one of our shooters at the arc. I thought it was down. It was close. I’m not sure if his toes were on the line or not. I know he was right there. They executed exactly the way we practice.”
Donta Hall had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Tide.
Daquan Bracey scored 21 points to lead Louisiana Tech. Jacobi Boykins had 14 points and Harris and Jy’lan Washington 12 apiece.
Alabama scored the final eight points of the first half, cutting a 10-point deficit to 38-37. The Bulldogs came out of the locker room hot after that with a 10-0 run.
Alabama was coming off an 89-84 loss to No. 12 Minnesota after going the final 10-plus minutes with three players due to injury and ejections of the entire bench. Sexton set an Alabama freshman record with 40 points in that game.
Louisiana Tech: Led most of the way in a bid for its first regular-season win over a ranked team since 1984. First true road game of the season. It was the program’s first game against a ranked opponent since 2011.
Alabama: Is 6-1 for the first time since 2012-13.. Alabama didn’t lead from the opening 2 minutes until the final 6. Herbert Jones fouled out. Sexton was 6-of-19 shooting.
FOUL SHOTS: Alabama made 16 of 18 free throws in the second half (88.9 percent). Sexton finished 9 of 11 from the line and Ingram was 13 of 17.
“They’re tough, tough drivers,” Konkol said. “We shut them down at times, but we defended and fouled them at times as well. They were able to shoot a whole lot of free throws and that hurt, especially Ingram.”
MISSING 3s: Louisiana Tech made just 4 of 23 3-point attempts and missed all 11 attempts after halftime. Boykins was 2 of 11 from beyond the arc.
Louisiana Tech hosts Division II Miles College on Saturday night.
Alabama continues a three-game home stand against UCF on Sunday.
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