Alabama vs Wichita State

No. 16 Alabama survives against Shockers wire reports

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Alabama moved into the championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off behind a bevy of blocked shots.

Tony Mitchell scored 26 points and the No. 16 Crimson Tide swatted away a tournament-record 14 shots in a 70-60 win over Wichita State on Friday night to grab a spot in the tournament final.

"That was the goal coming in and we're happy to have the opportunity to play for a championship," coach Anthony Grant said.

JaMychal Green and Trever Releford added 15 points apiece to help Alabama (4-0) avenge its loss to the Shockers (3-1) in last year's NIT title game. The Crimson Tide will play Purdue in Sunday's championship.

"We don't play in the past. We don't play in the future. We are focused on today," Grant said.

Toure Murry scored 21 points for Wichita State and Carl Hall grabbed 12 rebounds.

Alabama held Wichita State to 33.8 percent shooting from the field and forced 18 turnovers.

"That's what Coach tells us every day: Just bring pressure, be relentless," Releford said.

Levi Randolph had two steals and put pressure on Wichita State's ballhandlers on every changeover. That was especially effective in the second half, when the Shockers shot just 27 percent from the field.

Puerto Rico Tip-Off

"Their press is really good," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. "They take you out of sets. You have to beat the pressure, but if you do they have some guys in the back who can alter if not block shots. When we got past the pressure, we didn't make the easy plays that you have to make to hurt the pressure."

Wichita State's bench outscored Alabama's reserves 25-6. The Shockers also had a 43-38 rebounding edge and shot 7 of 20 from 3-point range, with Ben Smith going 4 for 8.

But all those the turnovers hurt, leading to 15 points for Alabama.

"Great effort, great focus, great intensity," Grant said. "Our philosophy is to play pressure defense for all 40 minutes and I think our defensive pressure may have taken a toll on them toward the end of the game."

The Crimson Tide shot 43.4 percent from the floor and went 1 for 8 from beyond the arc.

Nick Jacobs had five blocks off the bench for Alabama, and Green added four.

"Nick Jacobs came in and gave us some great minutes," Grant said. "You've got to love that activity from a freshman."

It was another big night for Mitchell, who stepped up again as Green went 5 for 15 from the field.

The win sets up a clash between the Crimson Tide's buckle-down defense and Purdue's potent offense in Sunday's final.

Purdue has scored 91 and 85 points respectively in tournament wins over Iona and Temple. The Crimson Tide, meanwhile, held Maryland to just 42 points in its opening-round game.

Purdue leads the series between the two schools 5-2.

"They have a tremendous tradition," Grant said. "We know it is going to be a very tough game."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Tony Mitchell lights up Witchita State for 26 points to help No. 16 Alabama pick up the victory. (AP)
Tony Mitchell lights up Witchita State for 26 points to help No. 16 Alabama pick up the victory. (AP)
Alabama #16 (4-0) «313970
Wichita State (2-1)283260
AL:T. Mitchell 26 Pts
AL:J. Green 11 Reb
AL:T. Releford 4 Ast
WICH:T. Murry 21 Pts
WICH:C. Hall 12 Reb
WICH:D. Kyles 4 Ast

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AlabamaWichita State
Tony Mitchell
Toure' Murry
Alabama Crimson Tide
T. Mitchell, F399-157-982426
L. Randolph, G334-80-05128
J. Green, F325-155-7112215
T. Releford, G292-611-1214415
R. Cooper, G180-10-01020
T. Lacey, G221-30-05212
C. Hankerson Jr., G110-20-00010
C. Engstrom, C80-00-02030
N. Jacobs, F82-30-03014
B. Eblen, GDid Not Play
M. Gueye, CDid Not Play
R. Ojomoh, GDid Not Play
K. Blackledge, GDid Not Play
Totals 23-5323-2836112070
Wichita State Shockers
J. Ragland, G375-132-372214
B. Smith, F315-152-320216
D. Kyles, G280-60-02420
G. Stutz, C172-41-29145
D. Williams, G160-20-01020
T. Murry, G298-164-551321
C. Hall, F242-80-212134
E. Orukpe, C120-00-01020
T. Cotton, G60-10-01010
R. Vautravers, FDid Not Play
J. Anacreon, FDid Not Play
R. Baker, GDid Not Play
O. Egharevba, FDid Not Play
J. Mitchell, GDid Not Play
E. Wessel, GDid Not Play
J. White, FDid Not Play
Totals 22-659-154092260
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
S. Carolina12-626-1143
Ole Miss10-822-1477
Texas A&M8-1016-1593
Miss. State6-1216-16149

Missouri Valley
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Wichita St.17-131-532
Illinois St.17-128-733
So. Illinois9-917-16145
N. Iowa9-914-16162
Missouri St.7-1117-16209
Indiana St.5-1311-20233
Other games
Tx A&M 58 Final
St John's 57
DAVID 69 Final
UMOH 60 Final
XAV 66
Arizona 57 Final
Miss St 67
WIN 73 Final
MU 95
JAST 41 Final
Ohio St 85