Bama's Trip Turns To Basketball Hell

ST. THOMAS, USVI –If this was Paradise, imagine how bad it could have been if the sign over the gym had ready, "Abandon all hope, Ye who enter here." What was supposed to be a nice Holiday tournament for the Alabama men's basketball team turned out to be about as pleasant as being abandoned on a cruise ship in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Alabama men's basketball team dropped its final game of the Paradise Jam, 50-49 to Saint Peter's Monday afternoon.

Alabama lost all three of its games in the tournament.

With the loss, the Crimson Tide drops to 2-3 on the season, while the Peacocks picked up their first win of the season to improve to 1-3.

"We've got a lot of work to do right now, and we're a team that needs to start from scratch," Bama Coach Anthony Grant said.

Junior forward JaMychal Green once again was the leading scorer, collecting 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor. Sophomore forward Tony Mitchell finished with 13 points, converting on 9-of-11 from the free throw line. Mitchell also finished as the Tide's leading rebounder with six boards.

Alabama suffered offensively, only connecting on 32.5 percent (13-40) from the field. The Tide hit on just 4-for-11 from distance, including missing all five attempts in the second half. Saint Peter's was able to overcome attempting only four free throws in the entire game, compared to Alabama's 19-for-25 effort from the charity stripe, by shooting an impressive 20-for-47 (42.6 percent) from the floor, including 8-of-18 from beyond the arc.

The low-scoring affair made for a back-and-forth contest that included three ties and six lead changes in the opening half. The Peacocks claimed a five-point lead thanks to a trey by Nick Leon, but Alabama was able to move back in front just before the half thanks to a pair of free throws by Green.

Saint Peter's was ice cold coming out of the locker room to begin the second half, failing to score a single point for the first 6:21 of the half. However, the Tide was only able to stretch a one point halftime lead to seven during that time. Alabama kept the lead until the 6:13 mark, when Leon hit a layup to tie the score at 43. Mitchell answered with a layup of his own to regain the lead for the Tide, but Leon once again countered to tie the score.

Mitchell's layup with 5:34 left in the game was the last field goal Alabama would make, but the Tide still managed to hold the lead until the final seconds. Mitchell hit a pair of free throws with under two minutes remaining to stretch the lead to three at 49-46. The Peacocks' Jeron Belin made one of two free throws to close the gap to two, which was followed by a steal by Ryan Bacon with 37 seconds remaining.

Saint Peter's took a timeout to draw up a play with 22 seconds remaining, and Belin drained a deep jumper to give the Peacocks a 50-49 lead with just 10 seconds left. Alabama called a time out for one final play, but Mitchell's last-second jumper was no good.

"The thing we talk about on defense is being alert and aware and making them miss," Grant added on the game-winning shot. "We got caught looking at the ball and he stepped up and made a great shot."

Alabama will be back in action on Saturday when it plays host to Alabama A&M at 1 p.m. CST in Coleman Coliseum.

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