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November 6, 2012TUSCALOOSA | After Stillman held a one-point lead at the half, the University of Alabama came out strong in the closing period, winning 76-68 in a men's basketball exhibition Tuesday night.
The Crimson Tide seemed disjointed at times in the first half, but a strong second-half effort led to a double-digit lead. Even though Stillman made a run late in the game, Alabama was able to hold on.
"Well, I thought Stillman came in and did a very good job with the tempo that they played with in the first half," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "First half, I thought we were sloppy in the first half offensively and gave them opportunities defensively. I thought in the second half, we settled down a little bit. Until the last two minutes, we had nine assists to four turnovers in the second half. I saw us, in the course of 40 minutes, make some improvements tonight. I think we've got somewhat of a young team that didn't really understand that for 20 minutes in the first half. I thought in the second half we played more the way we wanted to play."
Stillman began the second half as it did the first, keeping the game tight and forcing Tide into some bad shots. But Moussa Gueye scored six quick points, and Alabama took a 40-38 lead with 15:39 to play. The Crimson Tide never looked back and even managed to get the less-than-capacity crowd going with an alley-oop dunk by Trevor Lacey during a run that put the Tide up by as many as 15 points. Gueye finished with 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks, and Lacey finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Freshman Devonta POllard had 15 points and seven rebounds for Alabama.
"We thought we played a tough game," Stillman coach Michael Grant said. "I think our guys played hard and left everything on the floor. We didn't get off a lot of the shots that we like to get off. We usually try to put up 30 3s per game. Their guys are so long and so big ... it kind of pushed us away from the basket. I just really like their team. They just didn't play as well as I thought they would play today. But it's early, they're a good team, a great team, and well-coached."
Torrean Walker had 17 points, nine rebounds and five blocks Stillman, which is picked to win the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Western Division. Markeith Madison and Ladarius Rhone had 13 points each, while Jeffery Wherry scored 12. The Tigers made just 7 of 28 3-pointers.
Nick Jacobs, who led the Tide in scoring with 16 points and had five rebounds and a pair of steals in 19 minutes of action, admitted that there were points where the Tide thought it might lose this game.
"My thoughts on that were I was just trying to figure out where we were going wrong and correct it, to build a lead and maintain composure. I give the Stillman players credit to because they came out to play tonight."
Alabama opens the regular season by hosting South Dakota State at 8 p.m. Friday. The game will be televised by ESPNU. Stillman plays at Montevallo on Tuesday.