MERCER
BAMA

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Sexton, Petty rally Alabama past Mercer 80-79

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) It was a neutral-site game, except for Alabama sophomore guard John Petty.

A two-time Alabama Mr. Basketball as a Huntsville prep star, Petty returned to his home town and scored 18 points, including a pivotal 3-pointer in a Crimson Tide rally, to help Alabama to an 80-79 victory over Mercer on Tuesday night in the Rocket City Classic.

Freshman sensation Collin Sexton led Alabama (8-3) with 21 points, Dazon Ingram added 11 and Alex Reese 10.

Demetre Rivers led Mercer (6-6) with 24 points and Ria'n Holland contributed 21. Holland just missed a 25-footer at the buzzer that could have won it for Mercer after the Tide nearly blew a six-point lead in the final 11 seconds.

''We looked like a team that just came off a break,'' said Alabama coach Avery Johnson, whose team last played on Dec. 9 at Arizona.

Alabama missed its first 12 3-point tries and trailed 35-31 at the half. That's when Johnson told his team, ''Calm down everyone. The open shots are going to fall. Keep shooting,'' according to Petty.

Trailing by seven at the 10-minute mark of the second half, Alabama went on a 15-2 run over the next four minutes, highlighted by a Petty 3-pointer with 7:30 to play that gave the Tide the lead for good.

BIG PICTURE

Alabama: After going 10-for-24 shooting on 3-pointers in a six-point loss at Arizona, the Tide missed its first 12 3s over the first 18 minutes of the first half. Alabama finished 6 of 28 from beyond the arc.

Mercer: The Bears didn't figure on a potential buzzer-beater after Alabama enjoyed a six-point lead with 11 seconds to go. But some sloppy Tide play gave Mercer an inbounds play with one second remaining and Holland's 25-foot desperation 3-point shot hit the front rim and caromed away.

HE SAID IT

''When we're working on that in practice, we have to know that is not Pokemon time. Or am I showing my age?'' - Alabama coach Avery Johnson, on his team's near-disastrous lackadaisical play in the final seconds.

STAR WATCH

Sexton, Alabama's freshman guard and the leading scorer in the Southeastern Conference, started slowly and was encumbered with two early fouls. He scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, shooting 4 of 6 from the floor.

UP NEXT

Alabama's neutral-site game with Mercer was sandwiched between a visit to No. 18 Arizona (a six-point loss on Dec. 9) and a meeting Friday night in Birmingham with Texas (8-3). The Tide, with a schedule ranked 12th toughest in the nation, opens SEC play against No. 8 Texas A&M on Dec. 30.

Mercer, the preseason favorite in the Southern Conference, hosts Kennesaw State on Dec. 28.

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Key Players
J. Strawberry
D. Ingram
30.3 Min. Per Game 30.3
11.4 Pts. Per Game 11.4
3.3 Ast. Per Game 3.3
6.4 Reb. Per Game 6.4
33.0 Field Goal % 43.2
36.7 Three Point % 23.5
76.5 Free Throw % 67.1
  Offensive rebound by Mercer 0.0
  Ria'n Holland missed 3-pt. jump shot 0.0
  Lost ball turnover on Riley Norris 1.0
+ 3 Demetre Rivers made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Marcus Cohen 2.0
  Bad pass turnover on John Petty, stolen by Marcus Cohen 7.0
+ 1 Demetre Rivers made 2nd of 2 free throws 11.0
+ 1 Demetre Rivers made 1st of 2 free throws 11.0
  Personal foul on Dazon Ingram 11.0
  Bad pass turnover on Dazon Ingram 11.0
  30-second timeout called 12.0
+ 2 Stephon Jelks made layup, assist by Jordan Strawberry 13.0
Team Stats
Points 79 80
Field Goals 26-55 (47.3%) 28-62 (45.2%)
3-Pointers 10-28 (35.7%) 6-28 (21.4%)
Free Throws 17-22 (77.3%) 18-23 (78.3%)
Total Rebounds 32 37
Offensive 7 13
Defensive 20 21
Team 5 3
Assists 14 12
Steals 7 6
Blocks 0 8
Turnovers 14 13
Fouls 21 21
Technicals 1 0
24 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST
21 PTS, 3 REB, 4 AST
12T
away team logo Mercer 6-6 354479
home team logo Alabama 8-3 314980
Team Stats
away team logo Mercer 6-6 72.5 PPG 37.7 RPG 12.7 APG
home team logo Alabama 8-3 72.0 PPG 41.2 RPG 12.3 APG
Key Players
00
D. Rivers G PPG RPG APG FG%
00
C. Sexton G PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
D. Rivers G 24 PTS 4 REB 1 AST
C. Sexton G 21 PTS 3 REB 4 AST
47.3 FG% 45.2
35.7 3PT FG% 21.4
77.3 FT% 78.3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
R. Holland 21 1 4 6/12 4/8 5/8 2 37 2 0 1 0 1
S. Jelks 14 9 1 5/9 1/5 3/4 4 28 0 0 0 1 8
J. Strawberry 8 4 3 3/9 2/7 0/0 0 26 3 0 2 2 2
D. Ringer 2 2 0 1/3 0/0 0/0 5 18 0 0 6 0 2
E. Stair 0 0 0 0/2 0/1 0/0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
R. Holland 21 1 4 6/12 4/8 5/8 2 37 2 0 1 0 1
S. Jelks 14 9 1 5/9 1/5 3/4 4 28 0 0 0 1 8
J. Strawberry 8 4 3 3/9 2/7 0/0 0 26 3 0 2 2 2
D. Ringer 2 2 0 1/3 0/0 0/0 5 18 0 0 6 0 2
E. Stair 0 0 0 0/2 0/1 0/0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
D. Rivers 24 4 1 6/8 3/4 9/10 2 35 0 0 4 2 2
J. Stowe 4 2 0 2/2 0/0 0/0 4 7 1 0 1 1 1
M. Cohen 4 1 3 2/5 0/0 0/0 0 16 1 0 0 0 1
R. Johnson 2 0 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0
C. Kilby 0 4 2 0/4 0/3 0/0 3 18 0 0 0 1 3
M. Brydon 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0
M. Green 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
R. Cummings - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Lewis - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Heinen - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Prendergast - - - - - - - - - - - - -
V. Baffuto - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 79 27 14 26/55 10/28 17/22 21 200 7 0 14 7 20
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
C. Sexton 21 3 4 6/11 0/3 9/9 2 29 0 0 2 1 2
J. Petty 18 4 3 6/14 4/11 2/4 0 32 1 1 2 0 4
D. Ingram 11 8 1 3/10 0/4 5/6 5 30 2 0 2 3 5
D. Hall 9 6 0 4/6 0/0 1/2 2 31 0 4 0 2 4
B. Key 0 4 2 0/2 0/1 0/0 1 20 2 0 3 2 2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
C. Sexton 21 3 4 6/11 0/3 9/9 2 29 0 0 2 1 2
J. Petty 18 4 3 6/14 4/11 2/4 0 32 1 1 2 0 4
D. Ingram 11 8 1 3/10 0/4 5/6 5 30 2 0 2 3 5
D. Hall 9 6 0 4/6 0/0 1/2 2 31 0 4 0 2 4
B. Key 0 4 2 0/2 0/1 0/0 1 20 2 0 3 2 2
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
A. Reese 10 2 0 4/6 2/4 0/0 2 18 0 1 0 2 0
R. Norris 5 3 0 2/3 0/1 1/1 3 12 1 0 1 1 2
D. Giddens 4 3 0 2/3 0/0 0/1 4 8 0 2 2 1 2
A. Johnson Jr. 2 1 0 1/6 0/4 0/0 1 12 0 0 0 1 0
H. Jones 0 0 2 0/1 0/0 0/0 1 8 0 0 1 0 0
L. Schaffer - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Davis - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Fuller - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Smith - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 80 34 12 28/62 6/28 18/23 21 200 6 8 13 13 21