Dec. 23, 2009
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Sophomore forward JaMychal Green scored a career-high 27 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead the Alabama men's basketball team to a 90-71 win over the Mercer Bears Wednesday at Coleman Coliseum.
Senior guard Mikhail Torrance added 14 points and seven assists and junior guard Senario Hillman chipped in 14 points to go along with eight rebounds. Freshman forward Tony Mitchell scored 11 points and had five rebounds for the Crimson Tide. Alabama improves to 8-4 while Mercer falls to 4-7.
"I thought we played extremely unselfishly tonight," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "When you look at the totals, 21 assists for the game, it's very good for our team to play that way and I think that's the way we have to play in order to be successful. I thought the ball was distributed well tonight. I thought we had good balance. We had the ball inside quite a bit and that created opportunities for our guys on the perimeter."
The Crimson Tide notched a season-high 90 points, in addition to 21 assists and only nine turnovers, however Green's stellar play took center stage.
Needing one point to tie his previous career high of 24 set last year against Arkansas, the sophomore forward scored on an emphatic dunk with 5:03 left in the game to give him 25 points on the night. He would add another basket 30 seconds later to give him a total of 27. He finished 11-of-15 from the field and 5-of-7 from the free throw line.
"I didn't really (know I scored a career high in points)," Green said. "I don't really pay attention to that. I was just out there having fun with my teammates and glad we won."
Green scored 10 of his 27 points during an impressive 22-2 run that opened the game for Alabama. The Tide held Mercer scoreless for the first 6:50 while building a 19-0 lead. The Bears missed their first nine shots while also turning the ball over four times.
The Bears used a 12-2 run to cut the lead in half, however the Tide weathered the storm, eventually building the margin back up to 34-17 at the 5:28 mark. An 8-0 run by Mercer knocked the Alabama lead down to single digits at 34-25 but a pair of three pointers by junior guard Charvez Davis coupled with four points from senior forward Justin Knox helped the Tide extend the lead to 45-31 right before the half.
"I thought our guys did a really good job in the clutch of being disciplined, not taking unnecessary chances and really we were able to be effective with the press and not give up easy baskets on the other end," Grant said. "I thought for the most part we were able to defend without fouling with the extended pressure as well. I thought it was a good effort tonight."
Following a three-point basket by senior guard Anthony Brock that brought Alabama's lead to 17, Mercer scored a quick seven points to make it 48-38 less than three minutes into the second half. But the Tide responded, going on a 12-2 run over the next 4:26 to take a 60-40 lead.
From there Alabama held a margin of no less than 15 while expanding the lead to as many as 26 at one point. During the stretch Torrance found Hillman on two occasions for a pair of roof-rattling alley oops that brought the crowd to its feet. Coupled with Green's thunderous dunks and Mitchell's above the rim rebounding, the Tide had its way with the Bears in the second half.
"Our team just played together," Green said. "We finally came together and had fun tonight."
Alabama held the Bears' leading scorer, James Florence, who came in averaging 21.8 points, without a bucket from the 2:54 mark of the first half to the 10:30 mark of the second half, a span lasting 12:24. Florence who had notched 15 points in the game's first 18 minutes, ended up with 24 on the night.
"We were just trying to not let him get open and get his game going," Torrance said. "Everybody helped on him and tried to stop him. He did a great job in the first half, and overall in the game. He started to get going in the second half and we didn't want him to keep scoring."
Alabama will have a week off before hosting Tennessee State on Dec. 30 at Coleman Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 7:30.