Bama Basketball Wins Tournament

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Start fast and sometimes it's possible to finish on cruise control. That's what Alabama's 15th ranked Alabama Crimson Tide basketball team did in winning the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic Sunday night.

Alabama ran off the first nine points of the game, withstood a strong run from Purdue, and then pulled away midway through the second half for a 65-56 victory.

The win improved Coach Anthony Grant's Crimson Tide to 5-0, the first time Bama has started with five consecutive victories to open the season since 2006. It was also Alabama's first tournament championship since 2007 when Bama claimed the Las Vegas Classic title.

Alabama returns to Tuscaloosa to host Alabama A&M at 7 p.m. CST Wednesday in Coleman Coliseum.

"I'm really proud of our team," Grant said. "Tonight was like a heavyweight fight between two very good teams. I was pleased to see how we persevered and prevailed with the win." "I'm really proud of our team Grant said. "Tonight was like a heavy weight fight between two very good teams. I was pleased to see how we persevered and prevailed with the win."

After Alabama took its big early lead, the Boilermakers fought back and the Tide held only a 24-23 halftime lead.

The Tide was led offensively by sophomore Trevor Releford's 20 points on 5-of-10 shooting. The point guard added five assists and four rebounds. Junior Tony Mitchell recorded his 10th career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. JaMychal Green also scored 14, while freshman guard Levin Randolph had 12 points. Those four accounted for 60 of Alabama's 65 points as the bench was good for just two points.

Alabama's defense is becoming well known across the nation (and even in commonwealth of Puerto Rico) and it was stingy against Purdue. Alabama held the Boilermakers to just 36 per cent (20-for-56) shooting in the contest and used a 19-4 run midway through the second half to run away with the victory.

Purdue star Robbie Hummel scored 17 points to lead the Boilermakers, but he was good on only 5-15 from the field and only 1-7 from three-point range. Purdue hit 5-22 treys for only 22.7 per cent. Entering the contest, the Boilermakers were shooting 45 per cent from three and were averaging 80 points per game.

Alabama connected on 23-53 field goals for 43.4 per cent and 5-19 three-pointers for 26.3 per cent. Alabama had only a 38-36 advantage in rebounding.

The Tide had a 30-24 advantage in points in the paint and 10-2 on fast breaks.

Purdue would take a 30-28 lead with 14:04 left in the game but it would be the last time the score would be in their favor. Releford tied the score at 30 with a layup with 13:41 left and then UA claimed the lead for good on a Mitchell three with 11:45 remaining. It was a lead the Tide would not relinquish as it put away the Boilermakers by racing out to its largest lead of the game, a 56-41 advantage with 3:33 left.

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