Alabama goes overtime to edge Jacksonville State 67-59
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Riley Norris ended the first half with only two points and two rebounds, but in the second half, Jacksonville State seemed unable to stop Norris when he grabbed nine of the Crimson Tide's final 24 rebounds in a 67-59 overtime victory on Tuesday night.
Norris finished with 11 rebounds and 10 points, and when the game was over, he didn't realize he had his second career double-double.
''Those rebounds for the most part is just effort, but the guys had their guy boxed out so I just had to go and make the play,'' Norris said.
Jacksonville State's Jeremy Watson hit a shot to open overtime but Alabama scored the next 10 points, six from the free-throw line, and led 65-57 with 39 seconds left.
JaQuail Townser's 3-pointer with 33 seconds left in regulation tied the game for the Gamecocks (4-11) at 55-all. Alabama's Retin Obasohan missed a pair of free throws with two seconds to go.
Alabama coach Avery Johnson said he was proud of the way his team handled the overtime period, especially considering the missed free throws near the end of regulation.
''In life, everything's not going to go great no matter what type of effort you put in,'' Johnson said. ''We made our free throws in overtime. You know we didn't make our free throws in regulation so that showed a lot of character.''
This was the second consecutive true home game for Alabama (8-3) in which one of the Crimson Tide's players finished with a double-double.
Alabama's Arthur Edwards scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds and Jimmie Taylor scored 13 points, blocked five shots and grabbed six rebounds.
Johnson said his team would have been in a bigger hole in the first half if not for Edwards' play when he returned from the locker room after suffering an ankle injury early in the game.
''(Edwards) came right in the game and made a 3 from the right corner and that kind of gave us some energy,'' Johnson said.
Jacksonville State's Jared Hamilton failed to score a point after his first-half buzzer-beater but finished with 16 points.
Jacksonville State grabbed 15 offensive rebounds to Alabama's 10, but the Gamecocks turned the ball over five more times than the Crimson Tide.
Alabama trailed by two at halftime, but the Crimson Tide started the second half off on a 13-0 run and didn't trail again until brief window early in the overtime period. Taylor scored seven of his 10 second-half points during this run.
Johnson said Taylor's leadership and his energy helped him and his teammates have success in the second half and the overtime period.
''If he can do that consistently, we are a different team,'' Johnson said.
The Gamecocks responded with a 20-9 run to send the game into overtime, but Jacksonville State saw three of its players foul out before the overtime period began.
Johnson said he was concerned about this game before the season started because of where it fell on the calendar. He said he thinks his team will have more overtime games down the stretch.
''We needed some experience playing an overtime game,'' Johnson said. ''Those are things you can't simulate in practice.''
Jacksonville State: The Gamecocks' top scorer this season, Malcolm Drumwright, failed to score against Alabama, missing six field-goal attempts.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide's leading scorer this season, Retin Obasohan, failed to score double-digit points for the second straight contest.
Alabama is 4-3 this season when held under 70 points. The Crimson Tide is 4-0 when reaching that mark.
Jacksonville State has been held to 60 or fewer points in five of the Gamecocks' last 10 games and is 0-5 when failing to score more than 60.
Jacksonville State hosts Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Thursday.
Alabama hosts Norfolk State on Saturday.