Bama Basketball Rolls To Exhibition Win

North Alabama scored its 42nd point with 35 seconds to play in the first half of its exhibition game against Alabama and the Lions had a surprising one-point lead over the Crimson Tide in Coleman Coliseum Monday night. UNA would not score again until falling behind by 27 points.

Alabama used a 29-point run, including 27 unanswered points in the first nine minutes of the second half, to cruise to a 99-71 win over North Alabama in the exhibition contest.

"Obviously, we were a lot better in the second half than we were in the first half in just about every aspect of the game," said Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried. "That was particularly true of the defense in the first 10 minutes of the second half."

Alabama just missed doubling the score on the Lions in the second half as Bama had 56, UNA 29.

Alabama started the game with a three-point shot by Mykal Riley and a couple of minutes later Riley added another basket. But that would be it for Riley in the first half, who was only two-of-10 for five points. Richard Hendrix had only four shots and only three points in the first half.

"Was it that obvious?" Gottfried said when asked if the words "take the ball inside" had been mentioned at halftime. Alabama opened the second half getting the ball into the 6-9, 255-pound Hendrix and he responded with seven points in the first three minutes of the second period. Hendrix finished with 18 points and nine rebounds in leading Bama to the win.

Alabama shot 62 per cent in the second half and 55.7 per cent for the game. UNA shot 32.3 per cent for the game, shooting 42.4 per cent in the first half, but only 21.9 per cent after intermission.

Gottfried pointed out that Alabama was working to push the ball up court and get fast break shots in the first half and that Hendrix "didn't get a lot of touches in the first half. We knew we were going to come back to him and we did."

Alabama opens the season for real at 7 p.m. Friday, hosting Troy.

Gottfried said his team is still learning and that defense, particularly, will be a continuing building process.

The Tide coach said he was "pleased" with the play of his two point guards, starter Rico Pickett, a true freshman, and sophomore Mikhail Torreance. Picket had 13 points and 11 assists and Torrance didn't miss a shot in scoring eight points and had five assists. "We got 16 assists out of that position," Gottfried said.

Riley finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Demetrius Jemison also had 10 rebounds and freshman Justin Knox had 10 points off the bench. Bama had a 50-33 rebounding advantage.

Gottfried called UNA "a very good Division II basketball team that did some things wells." The Lions were led by senior guard Quinn Beckwith, who had 24 points.

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