Alabama (10-6, 2-0 SEC) won its Southeastern Conference home opener with a 57-47 victory over South Carolina (10-5, 1-1 SEC) Wednesday night in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide was led in scoring by junior guard JaMychal Green with 20 points. Sophomore forward Tony Mitchell contributed a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Malik Cooke led USC with 11 points off the bench. Bruce Ellington and Ramon Galloway had 10 points each as the Gamecocks shot just 28% from the floor. The Gamecocks had more turnovers, 20, than baskets, 16. After posting a triple-double in the win over Vanderbilt last weekend, Sam Muldrow was held to 4 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 6 blocks.
Alabama led 26-21 at the half and used a 10-3 scoring run from the 13:45 mark to the 7:46 mark to pull away in the second half. The Tide held the Gamecocks scoreless over the final 1:48 to ice the victory.
The Tide defense set the tone from the opening possession, where Alabama forced USC into a shot clock violation, followed closely by two straight steals by Chris Hines. Alabama built a 15-7 lead over the first ten minutes of the ball game led by Green’s six points.
The Tide defense held the Gamecocks to 23 percent shooting over that span and just 28.6 percent shooting for the game, the second time under Grant that UA has held an SEC opponent to less than 30 percent shooting.
Sophomore guard Ben Eblen snapped an Alabama scoring drought late in the first half with a layup with 3:58 left in the first half. The crowd was energized to fever pitch when Tony Mitchell got the ball on a fast break following an Eblen steal and dunked to thunderous applause.
At 2-0, Alabama is off to its best conference start since 2002. The Crimson Tide continues conference play Saturday at Arkansas before returning home to Coleman Coliseum to face the Kentucky Wildcats next Tuesday at 8pm. USC will play Saturday at Florida with a 1;30 PM tip.