"We played with great focus and great intensity, especially in the second half," Grant said of Alabama's 74-57 victory against the Golden Grizzlies. "Offensively we got in a better flow tonight. The guys understood their jobs more, of what we're trying to do from an offensive standpoint."
JaMychal Green scored 18 points to lead Alabama while Trevor Releford added 14 points for the Crimson Tide (2-0) and Tony Mitchell had 12 and Trevor Lacey 10. Mitchell had nine rebounds and four assists.
Grant praised the play of Lacey and fellow freshmen Levi Randolph, Rodney Cooper and Nick Jacobs.
"In the second half the freshmen had an impact on the defensive end. Those guys impacted the game when they were on the floor," Grant said.
Reggie Hamilton led Oakland (0-1) with 16 points, all in the first half. Drew Valentine had 11 points and Laval Lucas-Perry added 10 for the Golden Grizzlies. Corey Petros had seven rebounds.
|Puerto Rico Tip-Off|
Oakland coach Greg Kampe was disappointed in Hamilton's play.
"I think I stopped him. I was very angry with him at halftime. I think he played a terrible first half. I thought he lost purpose out there and it became more of a battle for him to score than it was Oakland trying to score," stated Kampe.
Alabama won its 22nd consecutive game at Coleman Coliseum, the sixth-longest home winning streak in the nation.
With the score tied at 13 at the 14:45 mark, Alabama went on a 28-15 run to make it 41-28 on a layup by Green with 34 seconds left in the first half. A steal and a layup by Valentine just before the buzzer made it 41-30.
Releford with 12 points, Green with 11 and Mitchell with 10 were all in double figures in the first half for the Crimson Tide, more than offsetting the 16 points scored by Hamilton.
Alabama scored eight of the first 12 points of the second half to extend the lead to 49-34. The Golden Grizzlies scored seven straight points to cut the lead to 49-41, but the Crimson Tide responded with a 19-4 run to push the lead to 68-45 on a field goal by Cooper with 6:40 to go.
"Anytime there's a big play it brings a lot of energy to the team," stated Randolph, a freshman.
"That dunk sparked the team," stated Releford.
Although he was pleased with the win, Grant wanted to keep things in perspective, especially since the Crimson Tide will be playing Maryland, which he called one of the more storied programs in the nation, on Nov. 17 in the San Juan Shoot-out in Puerto Rico.
"This is only one game. I thought our guys played well tonight, but they haven't even scratched the surface of how good they can be," he said. "We've got to keep it in perspective and take one game at a time. Every game for us will be a measuring stick."
Green left the game with about 10 minutes to go with what Grant said was an hyper-extended elbow.
"If we would have needed to put him back in [the game], I think he could have gone back in," Grant said.