TUSCALOOSA | There was a 40-minute basketball game at Coleman Coliseum on Wednesday night, but all the drama took place in a few short moments in the first half.
No. 13 Alabama defeated visiting Alabama A&M 82-45, but the game's memorable moment came when Crimson Tide junior forward Tony Mitchell, defending in the Alabama A&M backcourt, went down in a heap and had to be helped from the court by two teammates to the locker room. A hush fell over the Coleman Coliseum crowd for the rest of the first half, although nerves were calmed somewhat when Mitchell returned to the UA bench, with crutches, during the second half.
"Our medical staff does a great job, and they told me that it was a sprained ankle," Crimson Tide head coach Anthony Grant said. "We will proceed from there and see where we are in a couple of days."
Alabama (6-0) had already elected to rest senior forward JaMychal Green, who had been bothered by a hip pointer. Green did not play in the game and was replaced by sophomore Carl Engstrom, getting his first career start.
"JaMychal got banged up in our last game (in Puerto Rico)," Grant said. "He could have played if it had been necessary.
"But what we talk about with our players on a daily basis is guys being able to step up when the opportunity arises and I thought our guys were able to do that."
Five Crimson Tide players scored in double figures, including four freshmen who scored career highs. Forward Nick Jacobs scored a career-high 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, his first career double-double. Rodney Cooper also scored a career-high 16 points for UA, while freshman guard Trevor Lacey added 12 coming off the bench, while Levi Randolph added 11 points.
Sophomore Charles Hankerson also had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama was never threatened in the game, jumping to a 15-1 lead in the first five minutes and never looking back. The Crimson Tide had a 48-20 lead at halftime, holding the Bulldogs to just 5.9% shooting from the field -- one field goal in 17 attempts -- in the half.
Demarquette Tabb led Alabama A&M (2-2) with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Alabama will be back in action on Sunday, hosting 2011 Final Four participant Virginia Commonwealth in an 8:30 p.m. contest.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.
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