Randolph leads Alabama past Southern Miss 81-67
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Levi Randolph scored 23 points, Ricky Tarrant added 18 and Shannon Hale finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds to lead Alabama to an 81-67 win over Southern Miss on Thursday night.
Alabama led from start to finish, building up a 19-point advantage in the second half when Tarrant buried a three-point shot to put the Crimson Tide up 77-58 with 2:30 to go. After taking an eight-point lead at intermission Alabama (3-0) led comfortably throughout the second half.
Randolph scored 15 of the Crimson Tide's first 19 points and Alabama took a 22-14 lead when Michael Kessens canned a 3-pointer just more than 6 minutes in.
Both teams started out shooting the ball well, with Alabama not missing a shot from the field until around the 14-minute mark.
After a short breather, Randolph returned to the line-up and immediately buried a 3 to give the Crimson Tide a 29-19 advantage with 9:26 left.
Southern Mississippi (2-1) managed to stay close as Matt Bingaya scored his 11th point to pull the Golden Eagles within 29-24, but a 3-pointer by Justin Coleman pushed the Crimson Tide lead back to 10, 34-24, with 6:47 left.
Shannon Hale made two free throws to put Alabama ahead at the half 38-30.
''Levi got us off to an outstanding start,'' Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. ''He came out tonight and got it going. It's great to see him get into a rhythm and a flow like that and it's great to see his teammates find him and create those opportunities. He got us off to a great start and I think our team just followed from there.
''Luckily we were able to shoot a high percentage (57.1 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from beyond the arc). Some nights the ball goes in and some nights it doesn't.
''I really like our team. We have the potential to be really good but we have to understand that things have to go our way.''
Bingaya had 19 points and Norville Carey 17 points for Southern Mississippi.
''(Alabama) shot the ball extremely well,'' Southern Miss coach Doc Sadler said. ''They got good shots and made it difficult on the defensive end for us to get stops back-to-back-to back. You can't win when you shoot 29 shots from 3, and that's what we did. Maybe that's what they forced us to do. Fortunately we were making some shots too. The difference in the game was when we quit making them.''
Crimson Tide: Randolph had 18 points at the half, making six of his seven field goal attempts and going three for three from three-point range and three for three from the foul line. .Alabama holds a 21-5 lead in the all-time series with Southern Miss and a 15-2 advantage when playing in Tuscaloosa. .Alabama came into the game with balanced scoring with four players averaging in double-figures. .It was announced prior to the game that freshman forward Jeff Garrett will redshirt the 2014-15 season.
Golden Eagles: Bingaya scored 13 points in the first half making five of his eight shots from the field and three of his five three-point attempts. .Southern Mississippi, 29-7 last year, has averaged 27 wins a season for the last three years and is one of 11 teams to win at least 25 games in three consecutive years. .SMU has never won in Coleman Coliseum, dropping to 0-7
Southern Mississippi has five new starters and a new head coach. .the Golden Eagles have nine newcomers and only two seniors.
Southern Miss freshman Kevin Holland played at Paul W. Bryant High School in Tuscaloosa.
Crimson Tide: At Kansas City, Missouri, to play No.14 Iowa State in the semifinals of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic on Monday.
Golden Eagles: Host Troy on Tuesday.