Alabama begins regular season play at home against Towson on Friday in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. The game tips off at 8 p.m. CST.
“First, I would like to give credit to Montevallo,” Crimson Tide Coach Anthony Grant said following the exhibition game victory. “Those guys came in and gave us a great game today.
“We had some careless turnovers that we will correct, but overall, I was pleased with the performance tonight.”
Sophomore forward Shannon Hale contributed 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while senior guard Rodney Cooper scored 15 points and collected seven rebounds to go with a team-high three steals. All nine Alabama players that got into the game scored and helped the Tide hold a lead throughout the game. UA played without junior guards Ricky Tarrant and Retin Obasohan, as well as sophomore forward Michael Kessens, all nursing injuries.
Alabama got off to a quick start by going on a 10-0 run over the first four minutes capped off by a Rodney Cooper three-point shot. The Tide and Falcons battled back in forth, but Alabama went into the half with an eight-point lead, 41-33.
Montevallo made multiple runs in the second half and cut the lead to 68-65 with 1:45 remaining, but the Tide went on a 13-2 run to put the game away. Alabama shot 50 per cent (26-of-52) from the field and 71.4 per cent (20-of-28) from the free-throw line.
“Obviously, we were short-handed, but I thought our young guys came in and gave us some good energy, veterans gave us great leadership,” Grand added. “Overall, for it to be the first exhibition game overall pretty pleased. We’ll look at the film and get ready for Friday.”
Head Coach Anthony Grant?Opening statement:?“First I would like to give credit to Montevallo. Those guys came in and gave us a great game today. We knew scheduling them – you’re talking about a team that’s a Sweet 16 team in Division II last year, returned four starters and a lot of senior leadership. We knew their perimeter was very capable.
“The thing we talked about before the game was the ability to shoot the ball from the three-point line could be a difference in the game and they certainly kept themselves in the game with the three-point line; but I thought our guys did a really good job tonight of trying to defend, extend a little bit on the shooters from a defensive stand point.
“I thought offensively for the most part we flowed a little bit. We had some careless turnovers that we will correct but overall I was pleased with the performance tonight.
“Obviously, we were short-handed but I thought our young guys came in and gave us some good energy, veterans gave us great leadership, so overall for it to be the first exhibition game overall pretty pleased. We’ll look at the film and get ready for Friday.”
On Justin Coleman’s performance:
“Overall, I thought he had good energy. He did a good job with his voice out there – tried to run the team on the offensive end, communicating on the defensive end. For a freshman to come out and play 31 minutes in his first college game, I thought it was a great learning experience. He went against some seniors, some veterans on the other side so what we try to do is talk about every single day trying to get a little bit better, and I thought Montevallo did a good job of putting him in some situations both offensively and defensively that he can learn from.”
On the freshmen’s performance:
“We had a lot of different line ups in there tonight with the young guys. I think there were many times where we had maybe three or four freshmen in there on the floor together. It’s good to get those guys get some extended minutes, so you need a guy like a Levi or Cooper out there with those guys to kind of steady the ship, so to speak. I thought we had a lull there in the first half when we went to our bench. You’ve got young guys out there for the first time going through those jitters. I thought it affected them, but in the second half I was proud of the way they came together.”