Sloppy Tide Gets Exhibition Win

Those who came to see newcomer Devonta Pollard probably liked what they saw. Anyone coming to see if this was a greatly improved Alabama basketball team are probably considering the jury to be still out. Such is the nature of an exhibition basketball game.

Alabama played a very quick, inspired Stillman basketball team and finally subdued the cross-town Tigers, 76-68, at Coleman Coliseum Tuesday night. Devonta Pollard, the highly-regarded freshman who was a prep All-America, had his lapses, but all-in-all gave a nice account of himself with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Alabama sophomore Nick Jacobs had a team-high 16 points – eight in each half --and five rebounds.

Jacobs did not start and neither did veteran point guard Trevor Releford, though both were in the game in the first five minutes. Alabama's starting five was Trevor Lacey at point guard, Levi Randolph, Rodney Cooper, and Pollard on the perimeter, and Moussa Gueye at center.

In addition to Jacobs with 16 and Pollard with 15, Gueye had 14 points and Lacey 13. Pollard and Lacey were rebound leaders for Bama with seven each.

It was highly contested in the first half, with nine lead changes and seven ties. Stillman had a 32-31 halftime lead.

In a contest that featured 10 ties and 12 lead changes, Alabama took control on the strength of a 12-3 run over a 4:24 stretch the spanned the end of the first half and beginning of the second. With that run, the Crimson Tide turned a six-point deficit into a three-point lead.

From there, the Alabama extended its lead by as many as 15 points, 69-54, with 4:09 remaining, before the Tigers made a late rally.

Three of Alabama's 10 scholarshipped players were injured and unable to play. Sitting out were center Carl Engstrom, forward Andrew Steele, and guard Retin Obasohan.

"I thought Stillman came in and did a very good job with the tempo that they played at in the first half," Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said. "I thought in the first half, we were sloppy from an offensive standpoint. We made a lot of mistakes defensively, which gave them opportunities. We knew coming into the game that they were a very good and well-coached team, and that they would play with a lot of confidence and freedom. I thought in the second half, we settled down a little bit."

The Tide outscored the Tigers, 45-36, after intermission, thanks in large part to shooting 60-percent from the floor in the second half (18-30).

Alabama tips off the regular season at 8 p.m. CST Friday against South Dakota State in Coleman Coliseum. The contest is a part of the 2K Sports Classic benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project. ESPNU will televise the game.

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