The Crimson Tide basketball team rolled to a 74-67 win Monday night in Coleman Coliseum against the New Mexico Lobos in 2nd round NIT action. The win gave the Tide a school-record 18th home win for the season and improves the Tide to 23-11 on the year.
The Tide's 74-67 win last night really wasn't as close as the final score indicates, as the Lobos nailed 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions in the final 50 seconds to tighten what had been a 17-point Alabama lead with less than 3 minutes to go.
As usual, Bama rode a stifling pressure defense to disrupt the New Mexico offense, but the biggest key to the game was probably that Alabama outrebounded one of the better rebounding teams in the country. The Tide had a 40% offensive rebounding rate, while the Lobos managed 36%. Bama also surpassed its season average from the arc both in terms of makes and percentage, nailing 6 treys on only 14 attempts from long range. With the Tide doing its usual thing on defense, negating New Mexico's biggest strength on the boards, having an above-average shooting night on offense, and playing in front of a vocal home crowd, the end result of a solid win over a very solid team should come as no surprise.
What made this result even more impressive was that Bama's biggest star, JaMychal Green, a first-team All-SEC player, played less than half the game due to foul trouble and took only 4 shot attempts on the offensive end. Even without him, the Tide managed to find ways to score, especially in transition, though as usual the offense struggled considerably in half-court sets without him.
With Green much less of a factor than normal, the Tide's other two All-SEC nominees stepped up and filled the void. Freshman point guard Trevor Releford tied a career high with 20 points and added 6 assists and 6 rebounds in an excellent all-around performance. Sophomore Tony Mitchell managed 23 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in a game that included at least three dunks worthy of SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays of the Day. Senior Charvez Davis also scored in double-figures, finishing with 14 points on 3-of-7 shooting from the arc.
The win advances Bama to one final home game on Wednesday night against the Miami Hurricanes for a spot in the NIT Final Four. That game will tip off at 8:00 CST and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.