Fast-Starting Tide Rolls Over Mercer

With nearly seven minutes gone in the first half, no one would have suspected that Mercer guard James Florence was going to score 24 points. In fact, the question was whether the Bears would score against Alabama. When Florence made the first of two free throws with 13:10 remaining in the first half at Coleman Coliseum Wednesday it stopped the bleeding of 19 points in a game-opening Bama start.



Alabama withstood a couple of Mercer runs after that beginning, including one that cut Bama's lead to only nine points, but the Tide rode a career-high 27 points by JaMychal Green and a tenacious defense to a comfortable 90-71 victory. The final margin was the same as that built to begin the game.

Mercer cut the Alabama lead to 36-27 with just under three minutes remaining in the first half, but at intermission Alabama had built the margin to 45-31 and the Bears would never get to a single digit deficit. Bama led by as many as 26 points late in the game.

Green scored his 27 points in only 26 minutes of play. The sophomore forward also had a game-high 13 rebounds as Bama had a 41-32 advantage on the boards.

The win improved Alabama's record to 8-4. Mercer fell to 4-7. Bama returns to action in a week, hosting Tennessee State at 7:30 p.m. December 30, the second game of a doubleheader in which the Crimson Tide women will play at 5 p.m. Tickets for both games are available for $5 at rolltide.com.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant is giving his players time off for Christmas. The team will reassemble Sunday evening.

Alabama's defense forced 16 turnovers, including nine by Florence. Bama as a team had only nine turnovers. The Tide scored 25 points off turnovers, Mercer only six points.

Senior guard Mikhail Torrance had 14 points and seven assists, junior guard Senario Hillman 14 points and eight rebounds, and freshman forward Tony Mitchell 11 points off the bench.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said, "I thought our defense came out and set the tone. The challenge to our team was to have energy and effort from beginning to end, and I thought we did that.

"I thought we played extremely unselfishly. We played hard and we played together. l think that's the way we have to play in order to be successful.

"I thought we had to play hard for 40 minutes and that we had to play as a team on both ends of the court. Hopefully we made some steps."

Grant said he thought one key was to get the ball to Greenl. "We have to understand that the ball has to go inside. JaMychal has to get touches. He had 15 shots and I don't know how many other touches. When we take the ball inside, it opens up the perimeter."

Green's 27-point night included him making 11-15 field goals. He scored 10 points as Bama built a 22-2 lead. His previous high was 24 points at Arkansas last year. His effort helped Alabama enjoy a 40-24 advantage on points in the paint.

Grant was pleased with the Tide having 21 assists. Torrance had seven and Anthony Brock five.

Alabama made 34-69 field goals, 49.3 per cent. The Tide held Mercer to 23-54 on field goals, 42.6 per cent.

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