TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It's a good thing for Alabama the Southeastern Conference isn't considering Dayton for membership.
In games against SEC teams, the Flyers of the Atlantic 10 have won seven straight, including two against the Crimson Tide in the last two seasons. The most recent one came Wednesday night when visiting Dayton led almost the whole way in an 81-76 win at Alabama.
"I got to give all the credit to Dayton," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "They came out from the jump and set the tone tonight. ... They were the more prepared team tonight, and that's my responsibility as a coach to get our guys to understand the mindset they have to approach every game."
The Crimson Tide led only twice Wednesday, holding one-point advantages both times late in the first half. In both instances, Dayton answered with a 3-pointer.
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Trevor Lacey had 16 points for Alabama (6-2), which has lost two straight after beginning the season with six straight wins. Levi Randolph added 15 points.
Dayton (6-2), which is the alma mater of the Tide's Grant, led 70-55 with 4:55 to play before Alabama rallied. With little of the announced crowd of 11,460 left in Coleman Coliseum, the Tide trimmed it to 76-71 with 45 seconds left. But after a Dayton free throw, Alabama's Rodney Cooper shot an air ball on a 3-point attempt.
The Tide didn't slice it to five again until Lacey's 3-pointer went through the basket at the buzzer.
Dayton's Kevin Dillard had 25 points, including 17 in the first half.
"Kevin was fabulous with the way he started the game, and it carried over for us," Dayton coach Archie Miller said.
With the university having semester exams next week, beginning Monday, Alabama won't play again until Dec. 15 at Virginia Commonwealth.