With 38.3 seconds to play in Coleman Coliseum Monday night, Alabama walk-on senior Isiah Wilson made the first of two free throws to put Alabama at the 100-point mark for the first time since Dec. 27, 2005 when the Tide defeated Jackson State, 101-66. To put that into perspective, Alabama Coach Anthony Grant was an asssistant coach at Florida and no Bama players had yet made it to high school.
Alabama reeled off 21 consecutive points early in the second half and cruised to a 102-55 win over the crosstown Stillman College Tigers in the first round of the Pre-Season NIT Regional in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama advances to the finals of the South Regional at Coleman at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Georgia State.
In the other game in the Pre-Season NIT South game at Coleman Coliseum Monday afternoon, Georgia State defeated McNeese State, 96-74. Stillman and McNeese will play the preliminary game at 4:30 p.m.
Alabama put six men in double figures, three starters – Levi Randolph (17), Retin Obasohan (15), and Trevor Releford (12) – and three substitutes – Nick Jacobs (13), Algie Key (12), and Carl Engstrom (11).
Stillman was led by Daniel Bryant with 17 points. Stanley Magee had 12 points, Justin Harris 10.
Alabama made 37-63 from the field for 58.7 per cent and held the Tigers to 24-67 for 35.8 per cent. Bama shot only 13 three-pointers and made five (38.5 per cent) while the Tigers were 13-41 for 31.7 per cent. Bama had a big advantage from the free throw line, making 23-31 for 74.2 per cent. Stillman was 4-9 (44.4 per cent).
Alabama out-rebounded Stillman, 43-33. Engstrom led Bama with eight rebounds.
Alabama had 13 turnovers, but forced 22 by the Tigers. The Tide scored 31 points off turnovers, Stillman 8 off Bama miscues. Alabama’s bench scored 48 of the 102 points. Bama dominated in the paint, outscoring the Tigers by 58-14.
Alabama had 17 assists, led by Key with five.
Stillman led only once in the game, at 3-2 in the early moments. Alabama’s biggest lead was 40 points at 90-50.
Although the game was close for much of the first 10 minutes, in part because of some very long three-point shots by Stillman, by the 10-minute mark the Tide had built at 10-point lead at 24-14.
Levi Randolph, who had a nice first half in his first start of the season, had a conventional three-point play and a three-point shot in the final minutes of the first half and his 15 points in the first period were key in Bama’s 52-36 halftime lead. Randolph would score only two points in the second half.
Retin Obasohan had 11 points – including 7-8 free throws – for 11 first half points.
Daniel Bryant had 11 points for Stillman, primarily on 3-7 long range treys. Although he and his teammates cooled off a bit in the second half, the Tigers managed to get off 41 three-point shots. Stillman Coach Michael Grant said, “That was the plan. We just didn’t make as many of them as I thought we would.” The Tigers were good on 13 of them, Bryant finishing 5-15.
Stillman scored the first five points of the second half to pull to within 11 points of Alabama before the 21 unanswered points by the Tide to take a 73-41 lead just six minutes into the second half.
TIDE NOTES: There was yet another starting lineup for the Crimson Tide Monday night as guard Levi Randolph, who had been injured in the pre-season, got his first start of the season. Nick Jacobs was on the bench. Randolph was joined by guards Trevor Releford and Retin Obasohan, forward Rodney Cooper, and freshman center Jimmie Taylor, making his second consecutive start.
The winner of the South Region (Tuscaloosa) will advance to Madison Square Garden in New York for semifinals on Nov. 27 and finals on Nov. 29. The other three teams will play at regional sites to be determined.
Carl Engstrom had a new career high in scoring. His previous high point game for Alabama had been seven points, against Tennessee in 2012. He had 11 points against Stillman, 5-6 from the field and 1-2 on foul shots. His final basket with 16 seconds to play made it 102 for the Tide.
When Alabama scored 52 points in the first half, it was the first time Bama had accomplished that feat since last March when the Tide scored 58 in the second half at Ole Miss, a game the Tide lost by 87-83.