Tide Out-Shoots, Out-Lasts Ospreys
Coming into Wednesday's game at Alabama, the visitors were ranked third in the land in 3-point accuracy, hitting a torrid 48.4 per cent from downtown.
On this night, they hit but 28.6 per cent, but stayed in the contest for about 30 of it's 40 minutes by doing so. That, combined with some at-times lackluster Tide play.
However, Bama was able to go to its press effectively at times, and converted 20 North Florida turnovers into 27 points. The Tide turned it over 15 times.
Bottom line: Alabama 73, North Florida 51.
"We practice that (pressing) style of play every day," said Bama senior guard Mikhail Torrance. "Other teams are not used to it.
Alabama held North Florida to 0-for-4 behind the arc in the second half For the game, the Tide shot a blistering 45 per cent from 3-point land, going 9-for-20.
North Florida is in it's first season as a full-fledged division one team. The Ospreys are now 1-5 on the year.
The Tide got early 3-pointers from Anthony Brock, Charvez Davis and Tony Mitchell for a 19-8 start as the Tide handled the Ospreys of North Florida 73-51 before an announced crowd of 9.244 at Coleman Coliseum.
Alabama was led by freshman Mitchell with 17 points, followed by Torrance with 15 . Charvez Davis added 10 for the 5-2 team of first-year coach Anthony Grant, who had used all nine of his healthy scholarship players by the first media timeout.
Sophomore Andrew Steele had a walking boot on his left foot and sat out. He has a slight stress fracture in the lower leg.
For those who keep up with starting lineups, Grant opened with Torrance, Brock, Senario Hillman, Mitchell and JaMychal Green.
Alabama allowed the Ospreys to take the lead late in the half at 31-27, as the visitors began to connect from 3-point lane as they have all year. Mitchell banged a trey off the glass as the buzzer sounded, but Alabama hit the locker room down a point at the break.
Grant was understandably upset with his team's first-half performance.
"That's something we have to figure out, as a team. There's a level of consistency that you have to have, to be good ," said Grant, whose team won the battle of the boards, 40-30. " I don't know that we understand that, yet.
"We have to develop the identity we want to have, That comes with playing with passion and pride. The first half was a lack of focus that we can't have. As the coach, I take the blame for that, It was disturbing to me."
"We weren't even ourselves in the first half. We played to the level of competition," said Torrance
"I think we came out with a lot more energy in the second half.," Davis said. " We need we had to come out strong." ."
The lead changed five times early in the second half, but when all was said and done, the home team prevailed by a comfortable margin.
For the second tine in three games, Mitchell was helped off the court after a stoppage of play. This time, he injured his knee while attempting a driving dunk down the lane with 9:23 left in the game.
"He fell on a knee and had some swelling," Grant said. "He should be OK."
Mitchell drew a shooting foul, but was unable to take the tosses, so Green stepped up after being chosen by North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll and sank both to put Bama up 56-43.
Late in the game, a previously unknown member of the Tide team checked in. Turns out, he's been around a while. He's No. 11 Chris Dixon, a walk-on Grant found back in October at a walk-on tryout.
"Chris has always been a member of the team. Tonight was his first time to dress and get some minutes."
Dixon is a sophomore from Montgomery's Brewbaker Tech High School.
Grant said there are three other walk-ons who practice with the team who have not dressed out yet.
Next up for the Tide: a Saturday home game against Louisiana-Monroe. Tipoff is set for noon, to allow Bama fans time to get home and watch the 3 p.m. kickoff of the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta between Alabama and Florida.
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