Men's Hoops to Face Mercer Wednesday Evening
Dec. 22, 2009
Tuscaloosa, Ala. -
The University of Alabama men’s basketball team returns to campus Wednesday evening to face Mercer in its final game before the holiday break. Tipoff between the Crimson Tide and Bears is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum.
The Tide takes to the hardwood after falling, 87-74, on Saturday to its third ranked opponent of the season, No. 17 Kansas State. While UA (7-4) aims to return to its winning ways, Wednesday’s opponent will provide another formidable challenge for the squad.
“Mercer is a very well coached and tough team,” said Alabama head coach Anthony Grant. “They’ve got a point guard as good as any point guard we’ve seen and from a defensive standpoint we’ll need to play very well. Plus they’re one of the best rebounding teams in the nation, averaging 16 offensive rebounds per game. It will be a very tough and physical game for us.”
Mercer travels to Tuscaloosa with a 4-6 record in tow after suffering a 99-59 loss at Vanderbilt on Monday. The Bears were held to 31.5 percent shooting in the loss while allowing Vanderbilt to convert on 60.3 percent of its shots from the field and 57.1 percent of its 21 three-point attempts for its fourth loss in five tries.
Senior James Florence leads Mercer with 21.8 points per game this season and 1,954 career points while Daniel Emerson is averaging a double-double with 11.7 points and 11.4 rebounds per game after finishing one point shy of a double-double at Vanderbilt.
However, the Mercer offense will have to contend with an Alabama defense has forced seven straight opponents to commit more than their season average in turnovers against the Tide, including a season-high 22 turnovers for Kansas State. Freshman Tony Mitchell has statistically led that defensive charge, averaging 3.6 steals per game since joining the starting lineup at the beginning of the month.
Offensively, Mikhail Torrance leads Alabama in scoring with 15.8 points per game on 52.5 percent shooting with 5.5 assists per game after scoring 20 points in the loss to Kansas State. Of his 20 points, 14 came in the second half after he picked up his fourth foul and valiantly fought to keep Alabama within striking distance of KSU.
JaMychal Green trails closely with 14.7 points after pouring in 17 points against KSU and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game. He has two double-doubles this season and nine in his career.
Following Wednesday’s contest, the team will enjoy a brief holiday break before returning to Tuscaloosa to host Tennessee State on December 30.