March 15, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) – Tony Mitchell, Charvez Davis and Trevor Releford all scored 12 points to lead Alabama to a 68-44 victory over Coastal Carolina on Tuesday night in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
The top-seeded Crimson Tide (22-11), which felt jilted at being left out of the NCAA field after winning the SEC West, built a 20-point lead late in the first half and never let the short-handed Chanticleers (28-6) get anything going.
Now 17-0 at Coleman Coliseum, Alabama will host either New Mexico or UTEP.
Mitchell came off the bench and hit back-to-back 3-pointers to help begin the rout, going 3 for 4 from beyond the arc.
Anthony Raffa and Chad Gray led Coastal Carolina with 10 points, but the Chanticleers managed a season low in points and shot 33 percent (16 of 48).
Senario Hillman added 11 points for the Tide. Leading scorer JaMychal Green was mostly surrounded by defenders around the basket, but still finished 4 of 5 for nine points and collected 10 rebounds.
The Chanticleers had a 22-game winning streak during the regular season before losing half of their final eight.
Alabama scored 29 points off 19 turnovers and had 13 steals.
The Tide’s defense, which gives up the ninth-fewest points per game nationally, sparked a 17-2 run in the second half that all but put away the game. Alabama had steals on four consecutive possessions and took a 58-29 lead when Davis recorded the fourth and a layup.
The Tide pushed the advantage to 30 in the final minutes.
The Chanticleers had beaten one Southeastern Conference team, LSU, in overtime earlier this season but were outmanned in this one.
They earned an automatic NIT bid by winning the regular-season Big South Conference title.
The Tide rode an 18-2 run to a 38-18 lead late in the first half after Coastal Carolina went nearly seven minutes without a field goal. The Chanticleers did manage a couple of baskets at the end to cut the halftime deficit down to 16 but never got closer after that.
Alabama shot 55 percent in the first half (16 of 29) and made nine of its first 13 shots after halftime.