Mitchell Leads Tide Past Jaguars

Alabama's men's basketball team has been playing well in spurts. The Crimson Tide got those spurts started by different players in Coleman Coliseum Wednesday night and was able to overcome some sloppy play.

Alabama improved its record to 4-3 with a 72-50 win over South Alabama. In a preliminary game, a rare Alabama men's and women's double-header, the Crimson Tide women romped over Alabama State, 81-30.

Next up for the Crimson Tide is a difficult road trip. Bama goes to Purdue, ranked 22nd in the nation, for a 2:30 p.m. Saturday game at Purdue.

Senior guard Charvez Davis came off the bench to hit 6-7 field goals, including 3-4 three-point shots, for 15 points and a career-high four steals. Davis had 11 of his points in the first half as Bama broke from a back-and-forth game. Davis's three-pointer with 11:16 to play ignited a 14-6 run and Bama took a 33-23 halftime lead.

"Charvez came in and gave us a big boost," said Alabama Coach Anthony Grant.

The Tide also got a boost from sophomore Tony Mitchell, who had his second consecutive double-double. Mitchell had a game high 20 points--including some highlight reel slams--and 13 rebounds.

"Tony continues to improve every game," Grant said. "As he continues to learn and improve, he has a chance to be one of the elite players in this league. He made some plays that gave our team a lot of energy."

Although senior guard Senario Hillman might not have gotten all good grades because of some careless turnovers, Hillman had some big baskets in scoring 14 points and he had three assists and two steals.

Turnovers continue to plague the Tide. "I think we've averaged about 17 a game for the last four or five games," Grant said. "I don't think they are because of the style of play. They seem to be careless. We talk about valuing the the basketball and we haven't been doing that."

Alabama continues to play without suspended inside player JaMychal Green. Mitchell has picked up much of the slack. Chris Hines hit 4-7 field goals for eight points and also had seven rebounds and a career high five blocked shots.

Grant said, "I'm proud of the way our team came out and stuck together. It wasn't pretty. We got in a hole. We played in spurts. Our defense kicked in and we scored some points off it in the second half and took charge."

The coach said that Bama has been having some success with good basketball spurts of "four or five minutes. We need to expand those to eight or nine minutes."

He said, "With every game we understand a little better where we are and what we aspire to be. We're still a work in progress.We have to improve.

"My focus is on the team getting better."

South Alabama, which fell to 2-4, had its largest lead at 13-9. When Davis hit his first three-point shot with 11:17 to play in the first half, it gave Bama the lead at 14-13 and the Tide held the lead for the remainder of the game. Alabama led by 33-23 at halftime and stretched the margin to as much as 25 points in the final moments of the game. South Alabama never got closer than eight points in the second half. The Tide outscored the Jags 20-8 over a span of 10:20 in the second half.

South Alabama connected on only two three-point baskets, including one on the last shot of the game that got the Jaguars to the 50-point margin. South Alabama was led by Martino Brock with 11 points (offset by seven turnovers) and Javier Carter with 10 points.

A statistical oddity: Alabama hit 14 of 26 shots in the first half and 14 of 26 shots in the second half. Bama hit 53.8 per cent from the field while holding the Jags to just 32.3 per cent from the field.

The Alabama women's team of Coach Wendell Hudson had no trouble in the early game. The Tide had a 41-20 halftime lead, then outscored the Hornets by 39-11 in the second half. The only question was whether Bama would win by 50 or more points.

Alabama forced 29 turnovers in the game and held Alabama State to 13.8 per cent shooting from the field (9-65), including only 1-11 on three-point shots.

Regarding the Tide playing a pressing game throughout, Hudson said, "People ask why we play that way at the end of the game. This is a process in which we are playing the game to try to get our team better. That's how we're going to play. This team has practiced that way, prepared that way. It's the only way they know how to play."

He said he thought some players had done well, naming senior guard Tierney Jenkins, who had 15 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, four steals, five blocked shots, and only one turnover. He also pointed to freshman Kaneisha Horn, who had seven points and seven rebounds. Shafontaye Myers came off the bench to score 13 points.

Alabama outscored Alabama State by 30-12 in the paint, 25-6 off turnovers, 14-4 on second chance points, and 14-4 on fast break points.

Bama improved to 7-1 this season. Next up for the Alabama women's team is Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 2 p.m. Saturday in Coleman Coliseum.

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