Tide Opens Exhibition Slate with Win Over UAH - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Tide Opens Exhibition Slate with Win Over UAH

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Alabama opened up its 2011-12 basketball season with a 67-60 exhibition win over the University of Alabama - Huntsville Chargers Monday night at Coleman Coliseum.

Senior forward JaMychal Green led Alabama with 21 points while junior forward Tony Mitchell registered a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Trevor Releford added 12 points to go along with three assists and three rebounds.

The Crimson Tide led by as many as 14 points in the first half and as by as many as 10 in the second half. UAH cut the margin to three points on three different occasions in the second half, but could not get any closer. A put-back layup by Releford with 29.3 seconds gave the Tide a five-point lead before an emphatic Mitchell dunk right before the buzzer sealed the game for Alabama.

"It was a great game," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "The reason we schedule this game is obviously because we have great respect for UAH and coach (Lennie) Acuff and the program they have.  If you look at last year, it took a double overtime for us to come out with a win.  I felt like we had an opportunity in that game to learn a lot about our team and I felt like we did that again tonight."

After taking a 34-26 halftime lead, the Tide maintained a comfortable working margin for much of the second half before the Chargers cut the lead to four on two separate occasions. After UAH trimmed the lead to 54-50, Alabama answered with a three-point basket from sophomore guard Charles Hankerson to take a 57-50 advantage at the 5:15 mark of the game.

Three minutes later, after the Chargers cut the UA advantage to 60-57 on a trio of free throws from Jamie Smith, Mitchell answered with a three-point play on the other end to push Alabama's lead back to six at 63-57.

Smith added three more free throws on UAH's ensuing possession to make it 63-60 before Releford put in a scooping layup off a miss by freshman guard Trevor Lacey as the shot clock was winding down.

Smith led all scorers with 27 points on the night, while no other player registered double-digit points for UAH. Alabama freshman Rodney Cooper scored eight points to go along with seven rebounds in his UA debut.

The Tide will open its season on Friday, Nov. 11 versus North Florida. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CST).

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