Defense Paves Way For Basketball Win

The Alabama men's basketball team opened its exhibition slate with a convincing 99-53 victory over Faulkner at Coleman Coliseum Thursday night. All 12 Tide players scored in the contest with Alonzo Gee leading the way with a game-high 21 points.

Alabama's defense was a large part of the story, forcing 27 Eagle turnovers, including 18 steals, that led to 41 fast break points. Faulkner shot 28 percent from the field for the game compared to 45 percent for Alabama.

"I thought in the first half we played with great ball pressure," Coach Mark Gottfried said. "We had active hands and feet. That was good. Our defense created a lot of offense for us which is something we need to do."

Four Tide players scored in double figures led by Alonzo Gee's 21. Mikhail Torrance and Justin Knox gave the Tide production off the bench with 19 and 10 points respectively. Senario Hillman narrowly missed a double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds. The eight boards tied for most on the team with Demetrius Jemison.

On the defensive end, freshman JaMychal Green came up with four steals to lead the team. Ronald Steele and Hillman each added three swipes of their own. Green and Hillman also blocked two shots a piece.

Alabama managed to put the game away early thanks to some extended runs in the first half. The Tide opened the game on a 13-0 run and later put together a 19-0 run that put the game out of reach.

The Tide took a 48-16 lead into the locker room at halftime, forcing 18 of its 27 turnovers and holding Faulkner without a field goal for the final 15:57 of the first frame. Gee dropped 12 of his 21 points before intermission to lead the Tide.

"I thought we were very aggressive on the defensive end," Gee said. " I think that's what got us going, just playing aggressive on defense. That's what set the tone for the whole game."

De Hereford was the only Eagle to reach double figure points as he finished with 11. The Eagles are coached by Jim Sanderson, son of former Alabama Coach Wimp Sanderson, and compete in NAIA Division I.

Alabama plays its second and final exhibition game against Belhaven Thursday, Nov. 13 at Coleman Coliseum before opening its regular season slate at home against Mercer on Sunday, Nov. 16.

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