Crimson Tide Falls to Seton Hall, 83-78

Senario Hillman scored 18 points in the first half of Friday's game.

Senario Hillman scored 18 points in the first half of Friday's game.

Nov. 19, 2010

Box Score |  Notes

ST. THOMAS, USVI - The University of Alabama men's basketball team dropped its first game of the season, an 83-78 decision to Seton Hall in the first round of the Paradise Jam on Friday.

Freshman guard Trevor Releford scored a career-high 20 points while junior guard Senario Hillman also added 20 points for the Crimson Tide. Sophomore forward Tony Mitchell scored 13 points and senior guard Charvez Davis totaled 11.

Alabama (2-1) connected on 53.4 percent of its shots (31-of-58) from the field, including a blistering 71.4 percent (10-of-14) from beyond the arc, but was not able to overcome an equally hot Seton Hall offense and Jeremy Hazell's 27 points. The Crimson Tide led 44-39 at the half, but were outscored 44-34 in the second half.

"For us it's always going to come down to defense," Alabama head coach Anthony Grant said. "Our defense did not allow us to maintain a lead. With the way Seton Hall shot the ball our defense made it difficult for us to try and win this game."

Releford scored nine of his 20 points over the final seven minutes of the game as the Tide made a valiant effort to overcome a 12-point deficit.

Davis ended an 8-0 Seton Hall run with a three-pointer at the 12:01 mark to pull the Tide within a basket after the Pirates had taken their biggest lead of the game at 57-52. However, the Tide couldn't fully halt the momentum as Seton Hall used another 8-0 run to build a 67-55 lead at the 8:26 mark.

Following a timeout, Alabama came right back with an 8-0 run of its own to pull within four at 67-63 at the 6:46 mark. Davis got things started with a three-pointer, JaMychal Green added a basket and Releford capped things off with a three-point play.

After a Pirate basket and free throw by Hazell, back-to-back buckets by Mitchell cut the Seton Hall lead to 70-67 at the 5:06 mark, however the Tide could get no closer than three points for the remainder of the game. Mitchell scored nine of his 13 over the final 5:20 but the Tide's turnovers continually hampered the offense's momentum.

"The three things we emphasize every day are defending, rebounding and taking care of the ball," Grant said. "Those are the things we need to do to win. Tonight we only did one of those things. We were able to get some stops, but had 21 turnovers, committed 27 fouls and only got to the line nine times to their 30."

Hillman scored 14 of Alabama's first 18 points as the Tide built a six-point lead through the first 4:48.

Alabama expounded the margin to as large as nine at 26-17 at the 9:52 juncture before the Pirates outscored the Tide 20-10 over the next 7:02 to take the lead back at 37-35. Alabama would counter back over the final 2:50 with a 9-2 run to close the half with a 44-39 lead.

Releford ignited the run with five of the nine points, while Davis and Chris Hines bookended the run with a pair of layups. Releford finished with nine first-half points, while Hillman notched 18. The Tide shot 60.7 percent (17-of-28) from the field, including 83 percent (5-of-6) from beyond the arc.

Alabama will play the loser of Friday's Xavier/Iowa game tomorrow at 5 p.m. (CST).