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November 17, 2009

Grant gets first win as Tide sweeps doubleheader

TUSCALOOSA _ University of Alabama freshman forward Tony Mitchell hoped to end the evening with a thunderous dunk, but on what actually turned out to be the Crimson Tide's final possession couldn't make a free throw.

That was typical of how Tuesday went during the 86-69 victory to cap a women's/men's doubleheader against Jackson State - pretty good but not quite complete.

Led by Mitchell's 23 points four Tide players had a double-digit night, but Coach Anthony Grant was even more pleased with a number of other things.

"I thought our basketball team made progress," Grant said after his first official win at the Capstone. "For the most part I thought we played with pretty good energy.

"I think this was a good building block for us."

While the Tide only used nine players, the offense was led by two newcomers, Mitchell and junior college transfer Charvez Davis, as the bench tallied 47 points.

"When I was running the floor, they were finding me," Mitchell said.

Davis, meanwhile, made 5-of-7 3-point attempts to finish with 16, as Alabama shot 59.4 percent (19-of-32) for the game.

"Any time I have a good look they encourage me to shoot the ball," Davis said. "We shoot the ball like we did tonight, it makes everyone comfortable."

As for the starters, sophomore forward JaMychal Green netted 13 and had five blocks despite taking a hard fall early in the second half, and senior guard Mikhail Torrance had 13 points and eight assists.

Alabama was up only 40-35 at halftime, but then started to really pull away thanks primarily to some tighter defense. Combined with its transition game and inside penetration Alabama had a 24-6 edge in points in the paint after the break.

The other was the Tide (1-1) enjoying 22 assists compared to just 10 turnovers, which even Grant said he was "excited" about.

"I think we picked up our energy some more and every played well on defense," Davis said.

Senior guard Garrison Johnson led Jackson State (0-2) with 29 points and sophomore guard Rod Melvin scored 10. The one stat the Tigers led throughout the game was rebounds, with the SWAC school finishing with a 42-32 advantage, including 17 on the offensive end.

That contributed to the "good" but maybe not great feel for the evening, with only 9,384 fans at Coleman Coliseum.

"We're not there yet, but it was a step in the right direction, especially on the defensive end," Grant said.

Brock suspended
Senior guard Anthony Brock was suspended indefinitely Monday, with the announcement made prior to Tuesday's game. He scored 15 points and played 34 minutes in the season opener against Cornell.

"Anthony Brock will serve an indefinite suspension from all basketball-related activities for a violation of team rules," Grant said in a release. "While we are disappointed in the choices that Anthony made to warrant this suspension, we remain committed to installing the discipline and commitment to do what is right and in the best interest of each our players and our program as a whole."

Grant didn't add to the statement or elaborate after the game.

Women: Alabama 79, Jackson State 39
Sparked by a 22-6 run over the final 12:26 of the first half, the Alabama women's basketball team routed Jackson State in its home opener.

"I thought we really needed a game like this that we had tonight," Coach Wendell Hudson said. "We got the chance to play a lot of people. It was a fun game for us. We had 19 assists, and I don't care who you're playing, if you're sharing the basketball that way, you should be playing pretty good.

"I'm real excited about the team effort, 59 rebounds, 19 assists, and like I said it doesn't matter who you're playing. That's a big part of playing together and growing up as a team."

Senior guard Dedrea Magee and junior forward Tierney Jenkins led the Tide (2-1) with 10 points each as 13 players finished with at least two points. Junior guard Varisia Raffington and redshirt freshman guard Candace Sykes each had nine points while junior guard LaToya King had five points and six assists.

"Before the game, Coach Hudson was telling us that we needed to share the ball and try to get as many assists as possible," Jenkins said. "That was our mindset coming into the game, getting the ball to whoever was open and get the rebound if they miss. We were thinking share the ball the whole time."

Beatrice Banks was the only player to reach double-digits for Jackson State (1-1) with 11 points.

Hudson said after the game that sophomore guard Ericka Russell has been out with a leg injury, but is beginning to practice again and expected back soon.


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