In a pair of NIT Season Tip Off games last week at Madison Squard Garden in New York, Alabama had anemic first half production, scoring 22 first half points in a 74-64 loss to Duke and 21 in an 85-83 loss to Drexel. Tuesday night Bama had 25 points before the 10-minute mark of the first half.
Although Alabama was unable to maintain that pace (which is 100-point game stuff), the Crimson Tide was able to coast to a comfortable 76-48 win over North Florida in Coleman Coliseum Wednesday night.
Bama improved to 4-3 on the season, while the Ospreys fell to 5-5.
Alabama returns to action Saturday at South Florida. Bama’s next home game is Saturday, Dec. 14, hosting Chaleston Southern.
Levi Randolph and freshman Jimmie Taylor both had career highs in scoring, Randolph hitting the 20-point mark and Taylor scoring 12 points. Taylor, who had only 13 points in the first six games of the season, had eight in the first half on four-for-four shooting (despite missing three free throws). In the second half he didn’t attempt a field goal, but made all four of his foul shots. Randolph was 7-11 from the field, including 3-6 on treys.
Also in double figures for the Tide were Nick Jacobs with 13 points and Trevor Releford with 10.
No players for North Florida made it into double figures.
Taylor was also high rebounder with nine as Bama had a 45-37 advantage on the boards.
Bama outscored the Ospreys by 32-20 in the paint and forced 15 turnovers that resulted in 13 points. Bama was guilty of 11 turnovers, but the Ospreys managed only 5 points off them. The Tide also had the advantage in second chance points, 13-4, and in fast break points, 10-4.
Alabama made 26 of 58 field goals (44.8 per cent) and held North Florida to 18-57, only 31.6 per cent. The Tide was good on 9-19 three-pointers (47.4 per cent) while holding the Ospreys to 5-20 on treys. Alabama was also good on 15-25 free throws, while North Florida was 7-16.
Alabama had 18 assists, five by Releford and four each by Algie Key and Retin Obasohan. Bama also blocked seven shots, three by Obasohan. Releford had three of the Tide’s 10 steals.
Taylor scored the first four points of game – a putback and alleyoop slam from Trevor Releford – as Alabama went out to an 11-0 lead. The Ospreys were never able to get within 10 in the first half after Randolph hit a three-pointer to make it 16-4. In the second half, Alabama had a fast start and quickly had the lead into the 20s. Alabama led by as many as 31 points late in the game.
Randolph had 10 first half points to pace the Tide to a 36-23 lead at intermission. The Tide had connected on 50 per cent of its field goals (13-26), while holding North Florida to 35.7 per cent (including just 1-8 on three-point tries).
Bama forced nine turnovers in the first half, seven of them steals. Releford had three first half steals and three of the Tide’s nine assists.
TIDE NOTES: Alabama’s starting lineup was different than it had been the last three games. Starters were Nick Jacobs at forward, freshman Jimmie Taylor at center, and guards Algie Key, Levi Randolph, and Trevor Releford.
It was Key’s 21st birthday and he got the start over Retin Obasohan, who had started all six previous games this year.
Former Alabama Coach Wimp Sanderson did the color commentary for the CSS telecast. Sanderson wore a quite subdued plaid jacket that from a distance looked to be khaki.
Although North Florida was picked to finish fifth in the 10-team Atlantic Sun Conference, the Ospreys opened the season in Gainesville against Florida and lost by only eight points, 77-69.
When Alabama defeated North Florida in 2011 by a 64-44 margin, the big guns for Bama were JaMychal Green (18 points) and Tony Mitchell (17). Current Tiders who played in that game were Trevor Releford (7), Rodney Cooper (7), and Levi Randolph (5) as starters and Nick Jacobs (4) and Carl Engstrom (0).
The director of athletic communications for North Florida is Brian Morgan, who was formerly an assistant media relations director for Alabama.