|Final - 11.11.2011||1||2||Total|
|North Florida Ospreys||16||28||44|
|Alabama Crimson Tide||29||35||64|
The Alabama Crimson Tide overcame rust in its opener to beat North Florida 64-44 and earn its first victory of the season. Senior JaMychal Green led the tide with 18 points, while Tony Mitchell finished right behind him with 17 points and 10 rebounds to earn his first double-double of the season. "This is the beginning of a new season," head coach Anthony Grant said. "I thought our guys came out on the defensive end of the floor really carried us tonight." The Tide began the game sloppy, committing early fouls and turnovers and scoring only six points in the first 10 minutes of the game. "We didn’t execute," Grant said. "We were out of sync. I thought we took some early ill-advised shots within that time-frame. I thought we were playing out of character. I don’t know if it was nerves or anxiousness. Give credit to North Florida, they did a good job of preventing the ball being thrown to the low-post."
"Once we settled down, I thought we were able to be efficient and show some patience. That’s the biggest thing, especially going into the first game you’re not really going to be in the rhythm that you want to be in. We’re trying out some different lineups and trying out some different combinations. I thought once we settled down and got into a little bit of a rhythm, it was good to see some of our young guys come in and get to see the ball go in the net and then understand what we were trying to do from an offensive standpoint." - Anthony Grant
"We're excited, obviously, to get that first win under our belt," Grant said. "North Florida came in with great energy and they fought really hard. At the beginning of the game we really had a tough time getting into the offensive flow. Thankfully our defense was able to make it difficult for them to score as well. In the second half and the end of the first half we finally found our rhythm and were able to get a little bit of a lead going into the half."
The Tide returned three starters but only six players. As a result four freshmen played at least 15 minutes. The most highly touted, two-time Alabama Mr. Basketball Trevor Lacey, had six points and five rebounds. He was limited over the summer after offseason knee surgery. "There’s no substitute for experience," Grant said. "We’re fortunate that those guys are getting valuable experience and were able to win and learn. That’s really an important thing when you have as many young guys that will be counted on as we do."
"We did a great job fighting through screens," Green said. "They were a good team shooting the 3-pointer, but we contested almost every one. "Our interior defense wasn't great tonight," Grant said. "They made some layups and their number of offensive rebounds (22) jumps out at you."
Nothing like starting a new basketball season with your defense in midseason form. Alabama held North Florida to 23.2 percent shooting from the field - 14.3 percent from 3-point range - Friday night and defeated the Ospreys 64-44 at Coleman Coliseum. "The defensive end of the floor really carried us tonight," said coach Anthony Grant, who opened his third season as Alabama's head coach.