Alabama rolls in 2nd half and beats Norfolk State 68-49
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) After struggling with his shooting touch in recent contests, it only took Alabama's top scorer, Retin Obasohan, 70 seconds to connect on a 3-pointer.
Alabama defeated Norfolk State 68-49 on Saturday, and Obasohan finished the game leading all scorers with 23 points to tie his career-high as he found a rhythm he's appeared to lack lately.
In Alabama's last three games, Obasohan finished with 12 points once, and failed to score double digit points twice after he started the season scoring 17 or more points in five of his first eight games. After the game, Obasohan didn't want to minimize the team's success by talking about his own.
''I would say more than anything I'm just happy we got the W,'' Obasohan said. ''That's my main focus, whether I struggle or I play a good game.''
Arthur Edwards scored 15 points with three assists and Riley Norris scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Crimson Tide.
The Crimson Tide (9-3) led by five points at halftime, but used a 15-5 run at the beginning of the second half to take control of the game as Alabama outscored the Spartans (5-10) 35-21 in the second half.
Alabama coach Avery Johnson said he wanted to see how his team began the second half. He said his team struggled to start the second half off correctly in several previous games.
''I liked our intensity. The first five to seven minutes of the second half is where I wanted to see where we were,'' Johnson said. ''That's been a weakness that I thought we overcame tonight.''
Obasohan scored five less points for Alabama in the second half, but Johnson seemed thrilled with his contributions to the defense.
''I'm happy he had four steals. If we can continue to play this type of defense we'll have a chance,'' Johnson said of the upcoming Southeast Conference schedule.
Jeff Short led the Spartans, scoring 16 points after shooting 4-for-7 beyond the arc. He was the only Spartan to reach double figures.
Norfolk State jumped out to an early lead as Alabama missed layups, dunks and jumpers, but once the Crimson Tide began shooting beyond the arc the momentum shifted. Alabama scored all of its first nine points shooting 3-pointers and finished the first half shooting more behind the arc than in front of it.
Alabama finished the game connecting on 11 of 24 3-point attempts while the Spartans finished 6-for-22. Edwards led all players connecting on 5 of 9 3-point attempts.
Early in the game, Alabama dominated the boards outrebounding the Spartans 12-5. Norfolk State was more competitive for the remainder of the game, especially in the second half when the Spartans grabbed eight offensive rebounds compared to Alabama's three.
This concludes Alabama's non-conference schedule, and the team is excited to start SEC play next week.
''I'm ecstatic, there's nothing like SEC basketball,'' Obasohan said. ''I mean everything just increases, the stakes, the atmosphere, the competition, the intensity.''
Norfolk State: The trip to Tuscaloosa was the Spartans' 13th road game this season. As of Saturday, the Spartans have only played two home games.
Alabama: This was only the Crimson Tide's fifth true home game of the season. No SEC team has played fewer true home games than Alabama this year.
Alabama is now 5-1 when the Crimson Tide scores at least 68 points.
Norfolk State has now failed to score 60 points in three contests this season. The Spartans are 0-3 when held under 60 and 5-7 when scoring 60 points or more.
Norfolk State hosts Princeton Tuesday.
Alabama will travel to Oxford, Mississippi to start SEC play against Ole Miss Thursday.