Defense Carries Tide To Easy Win

No one would recommend going over 10 minutes with just six points in a college basketball game. Alabama scored four points in the first minute of play against North Florida Friday night, but then went 7:14 before getting a third basket and another couple of minutes to get to the eight-point mark.

But Alabama's defense was so good that the Crimson Tide was able to coast to a 64-44 win over North Florida in the season-opening game for both teams at Coleman Coliseum.

Bama continues at home Monday when Oakland visits for a 7 p.m. game.

Tony Mitchell scored three baskets in a matter of 1:14 to take Alabama from an 18-12 lead to a 24-12 margin and an eventual 29-16 halftime lead. Mitchell finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. JaMychal Green scored 18 points. No other Tide player was in double figures. But no North Florida Ospreys were in double digits.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant credited the Tide defense for carrying the Tide to the win. He was particularly pleased with work on the perimeter, holding North Florida to 3-21 on three-point shots. "I thought our guys had a level of alertness to not give them looks," Grant said.

North Florida was good on only 13-56 field goal attempts for 23.2 per cent. The three-point shooting was only 14.3 per cent. Even on free throws, the Ospreys managed only 57.7 per cent. And all those numbers were improved by second half play by the visitors.

Alabama blocked seven shots in the game,

Meanwhile, the Tide was good on 22-54 field goal tries (40.7 per cent), including 5-16 on treys (31.2 per cent) and 15-17 free throws (88.2 per cent).

The teams were even in scoring in the paint with 20 points each. North Florida scored nine points on three-point shots and 15 on free throws and the remaining 20 were all in the paint.

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