Dec. 30, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Sophomore forward JaMychal Green scored a game-high 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds while junior guard Senario Hillman added 15 points and six assists to lead the Alabama men's basketball team to a 77-65 win over the Tennessee State Tigers Wednesday at Coleman Coliseum.
Senior guard Mikhail Torrance scored 14 points to go along with six rebounds while senior forward Justin Knox had 10 point and four steals for the Tide who improve to 9-4 on the season.
"You've got to give them (TSU) credit," Alabama head coach Anthony Grant said. "I thought they came out and played with great energy to start the game. They opened the game up with some threes and it continued throughout the game. They did a great job of shooting the basketball. Obviously for us, we need to understand the importance of being able to defend the three-point line and playing with more of a sense of urgency. I thought there were times in the game where we didn't have the urgency we needed to, but we were fortunate to make some plays at the end that allowed us to be able to get a win."
Alabama led nearly the entire game, but the Tigers stayed within striking distance by shooting 11-of-23 from beyond the three-point line, but were undone by poor shooting from the free throw line (53.3%) and the field (39%).
The Crimson Tide led 31-26 at halftime but saw Tennessee State pull within two points on six different occasions. The Tigers got as close as one point two more times but were never able to overtake the Tide.
Alabama used a 9-0 run midway through the second half to grab a 51-41 lead only to see Tennessee State make a run of its own and pull within two at 55-53 with 7:16 left in the game, at that point the Crimson Tide took control of the game.
Back-to-back three point shots by Torrance and senior guard Anthony Brock pushed the lead to seven. A pair of baskets by Green and two free throws by junior forward Chris Hines gave Alabama a 13 point lead with just over two minutes to go.
From there the Tide coasted home, taking its largest lead of 14 on a layup by Hines with 26 seconds.
Alabama outscored Tennessee State 40-14 in the paint. For the game Alabama shot a season-high 56.5% (26-of-46) from the field led by Green's stellar 8-for-11 effort. Moreover, the Tide shot 50% from the three point line (5-of-10).
"I thought we got some opportunities in transition, some of them we took advantage of and some of them we couldn't convert," Grant said. "I felt we had an advantage in the interior and we needed to try to exploit that."
The Crimson Tide trailed for the game's first nine minutes until a three pointer by junior guard Charvez Davis gave Alabama its first lead at 14-13. The Tide expanded the margin to six before TSU used a 7-0 spurt to take a 24-23 lead. Alabama closed the first half on an 8-2 run to take a 31-26 halftime lead.
Josh Sain scored 18 points for Tennessee State, who fall to 3-10 on the season.
Alabama will next play at Toledo on Jan. 4.