Jan. 22, 2011
Box Score | Notes
AUBURN, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team is off to its best conference start since the 2004-2005 season following a 68-58 win over the Auburn Tigers on Saturday at Auburn Arena.
Junior forward JaMychal Green and sophomore forward Tony Mitchell led a balanced Crimson Tide scoring attack with 15 points apiece, while freshman guard Trevor Releford and senior guard Senario Hillman each added 10 points. Green and Mitchell led Alabama with six rebounds apiece while Hillman added a game-high five assists. Green's first bucket of the game made him the 43rd player in UA history with 1,000 career points and he finished the night with 1,014 career points.
The Crimson Tide (12-7, 4-1 SEC) has won seven of its last eight and sits alone atop the Western Division after holding its 14th opponent under 40 percent shooting this season.
"I thought it was great win," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "When you look at it, it was the perfect storm. The celebration they had today, the sold-out building, in need of a win and the magnitude of the Alabama-Auburn game. I'm proud of our guys for the way we persevered and fought and found a way to win."
Clinging to a 51-49 lead at the 5:07 juncture of the second half, Alabama embarked on a 10-2 run over the next 4:10 to take a commanding 61-51 lead with just 57 seconds remaining in the game. The Crimson Tide polished off the victory, going 7-of-8 from the free throw line over the final minute, including 15-of-17 over the final 2:14.
All in all, Alabama shot 80 percent (24-of-30) from the charity stripe for the game.
"We told our guys before the game our offensive efficiency should not affect our defensive focus and intensity," Grant said. "I'm really proud of our guys. In the second half we locked down and we did the things we had to do to get the win. We came up with the big rebounds at the end of the game and we made the free throws we needed to make at the end of the game. I thought it was a very good win for our team."
A three-point basket by senior guard Charvez Davis at the 8:33 mark of the second half gave Alabama a 47-45 lead and the Tide would not relinquish the advantage for the remainder of a back-and-forth game that saw neither team take a lead larger than five points until the game's final minute.
The Crimson Tide held a 29-27 halftime advantage following a buzzer-beating three-point basket by Mitchell right as the half expired. Alabama trailed 22-17 at the 7:17 juncture of the first half, but used an 8-0 run to take a 25-22 lead, holding the Tigers scoreless for a stretch of almost five minutes.
Auburn (7-12, 0-5) was led by Earnest Ross who scored a game-high 20 points.
Alabama will have the week off before returning to action next Saturday, Jan.29, hosting LSU at Coleman Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.