Nov. 17, 2009
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama men's basketball team controlled the paint and shot well from three-point range to methodically pull away from Jackson State, 86-69 at Coleman Coliseum Tuesday night, giving head coach Anthony Grant his first victory with the Crimson Tide.
Alabama was too strong for the Tigers inside, outscoring Jackson State 42-to-18 in the paint. Freshman Tony Mitchell and sophomore JaMychal Green accounted for the bulk of the Tide's points in the paint as Mitchell finished with a team-high 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting, and Green added 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
"I have to give credit to my team for finding me when I was open," Mitchell said. "I was running the floor and they were finding me when I was able to get open. They were able to give me the opportunity to have a good chance to finish. I just want to give all the credit to my team."
While Mitchell and Green handled the inside for the Tide, junior Charvez Davis took care of business beyond the three-point arc, knocking down 5-of-7 treys off the bench and finishing with 17 points. As a team, Alabama went 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from deep.
The deciding run in the game came early in the second half when Alabama went on a 10-0 spurt, with all 10 points coming from senior Mikhail Torrance and Mitchell, to push its lead to 61-43. The Tigers would never get closer than 12 points the rest of the contest.
"I thought we came out with good energy in the second half, and that is what we talked about at the half," Grant said. "Last game we didn't come out with the focus and intensity on the defensive end that we needed to start the second half. Today we challenged our team at halftime to come out and get stops, and they did a great job starting the half to limit their opportunities and extend our lead."
Torrance joined Mitchell, Green and Davis in double figures with 13 points, and the senior guard also dished out a game-high eight assists. Mitchell and Davis' efforts helped the Tide get huge production off the bench, as the team finished with 47 points from non-starters. Alabama shot 53.6 percent (30-of-56) from the field and held Jackson State to 41.3 percent shooting (26-of-63).
The first half remained tight throughout, but Mitchell threw down a fast-break dunk as the buzzer sounded to give the Tide a 40-35 lead at the break. Alabama went on a 9-2 run midway through the first capped by a basket plus the foul by junior Justin Knox, that gave the Tide its largest of the half, at 26-18.
Garrison Johnson kept Jackson State close though, pouring in 17 points before intermission. Mitchell and Davis sparked the Tide offense off the bench, shooting a combined 8-for-10 from the field and scoring 10 and nine points respectively prior to the half. Johnson finished with a game-high 29 points on 10-of-22 shooting. Rod Melvin was the only other Tiger to reach double figures, finishing with 10 points and four assists.
Alabama concludes its season-opening, three-game home stand Friday, Nov. 20 with a tilt against Big East foe Providence at Coleman Coliseum with tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT.