Alabama beats North Florida 76-61
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama handily beat North Florida 76-61 on Friday, ending its non-conference season 10-3, and coach Anthony Grant couldn’t be happier.
”That’s what we wanted to see as we close out non-conference play and head into SEC play,” Grant said. The Crimson Tide face Southeastern Conference foe Texas A&M at home on Tuesday.
Michael Kessens had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead Alabama. Levi Randolph had 13 points, Rodney Cooper 11 and Riley Norris 10 as Alabama won its fourth straight game. Ricky Tarrant contributed six assists.
North Florida (7-9) has played three games in the last five days and has now lost four straight games.
Behind by seven on two occasions in the early going, the last time being 30-23 at the 6:43 mark, Alabama went on a 22-7 run to take a 45-37 lead at the half. Kessens scored 16 points in the half.
Alabama steadily pulled to a 22-point lead in the second half, its largest of the game, when Norris scored on a layup with 5:38 to go.
North Florida jumped out in front early but Alabama took over in the second half.
”They really got it going early. I thought our energy level needed to improve,” said Alabama coach Anthony Grant. ”Once we settled down we did a good job answering their runs with our runs.”
”We got off to a slow start and we picked it up in the second half,” Norris said. ”In the second half our energy and our effort was there.”
Demarcus Daniels had 14 points for North Florida and Chris Davenport had 11 and six assists.
”We had three turnovers in the first 16 minutes, and then (Alabama) got five turnovers from the media timeout to the end of the half,” said North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll.
”Alabama went on a 13-2 run to end the half, and it’s hard to recover against a team like this,” he said. ”Yeah, I think some fatigue might have set in and some guys might have got tired.”
Crimson Tide: Levi Randolph entered the game leading Alabama in scoring (16.4 ppg), assists (3 apg), steals (1.8) and minutes (34.2 mpg). … North Florida was Alabama’s fourth in a season-long five-game home stand. … Alabama secured its 10th win in non-conference play, the first time the Tide has accomplished that since the 2011-12 season. … Michael Kessens’ 18 points and 12 rebounds were career highs and he recorded his second double-double of the year. … Levi Randolph extended his double-double streak to 15 games dating back to last season.
Ospreys: The most impressive win of the season was 73-70 at Purdue on December 6. … losses include away games at South Carolina, Northwestern, Florida State and Iowa. … Alabama game concluded a stretch of six straight away games.
Alabama is 9-0 at home this season. North Florida is 0-11 all-time against members of the Southeastern Conference.
Crimson Tide: Host Texas A&M on Tuesday.
Ospreys: Host Trinity Baptist on Tuesday.