Men's Basketball Beats Arkansas, 69-56, Clinches SEC West Title

Feb. 19, 2011

Alabama 69, Arkansas 56 [Box Score]
The Crimson Tide celebrates its Western Division title as it leaves the floor Saturday.
Alabama 31 38 69
Arkansas 31 25 56
 Quick Stats
 Stats  Alabama  Arkansas
FG (Made/Attempts) 28-59 18-46
3P (Made/Attempts) 4-15 7-15
FT (Made/Attempts) 9-13 13-17
Fouls (tech/flagrant) 14 13
 Game Leaders
 Stats  Alabama  Arkansas
Points Mitchell - 27 Clarke - 21
Rebounds Mitchell/Green - 9 Clarke - 5
Assists Releford - 4 Three - 2
Steals Green, Hines - 3 Two - 1
Blocks Three, 2 Bryant, 5
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala - Sophomore forward Tony Mitchell scored a career-high 27 points to lead the Alabama men's basketball team to a 69-56 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd of 15,383 at Coleman Coliseum.

With the win, the Crimson Tide clinched the Southeastern Conference Western Division title, its first the 2005 season, as well as maintaining its season-long home winning streak.

In addition to a career-high in points, Mitchell grabbed nine rebounds and dished out three assists for the Tide, which improves to 18-8 (10-2 SEC) after its fourth consecutive victory. Freshman guard Trevor Releford scored 17 points and junior forward JaMychal Green added 16 points and nine rebounds.

"I am just very proud of our guys." UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "I think we came out with great focus and great energy today against a very tough, very talented Arkansas team."

To go along with his career high in points, Mitchell connected on a career-high 11 field goals going 11-of-15 from the field. Six of those field goals came in the second half when he scored 16 of his 27 points.

Alabama scored seven unanswered points as part of a 13-2 run, capped off by a thunderous alley-oop dunk by Mitchell from Releford to take a 57-51 lead with 6:36 left in the game. The Tide extended the lead to 63-54 over the next several minutes, highlighted by another alley-oop dunk, this time with Green on the receiving end of a Mitchell pass.

The Tide turned in another solid defensive performance, scoring 25 points off 18 Arkansas turnovers and holding Arkansas to 32.0 percent shooting in the second half and 39.1 percent for the game.

On the offensive end of the floor, Alabama took control of the paint outscoring the Razorbacks 38-20. The Tide was very productive in the second half, shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 47.5 percent for the game.

Alabama outscored the Razorbacks 8-2 over the opening 2:18, as four different UA players scored during the stretch. The Tide defense forced four Arkansas turnovers while blocking two shots over the same span. The Razorbacks inched their way back into the game over the next five-plus minutes, outscoring Alabama 13-5 to take a 15-13 lead.

The teams battled back and forth for the rest of the half until the closing seconds when Mitchell followed two Alabama missed shots with a tip-in to tie the game at 31-31 at the half. The first half featured six ties and seven lead changes.

"I thought we came out and got a little run going and got a lead, then Arkansas being the tough team they are, fought right back and knocked our guys back," Grant said. "But we regrouped, and we were able to go into the half tied even with the mistakes we made. I felt like we were in good position from a defensive standpoint to set the tone."

Rotnei Clarke led Arkansas in scoring by with 21 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field and 9-of-11 from the free throw line.

Alabama's next game is Feb. 23 against Auburn at Coleman Coliseum with tipoff set for 7 p.m. Fewer than 2,200 tickets remain for Wednesday's contest and are available by clicking here, or calling 1.877.TIDETIX.