The 13th-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide open a game homestand tonight, as they welcome the Alabama A&M Bulldogs to Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama A&M is 2-1 on the young season, as following a 72-63 loss at Tulane in the opener, the team bounced back to knock off Talladega College (100-79) and Oakwood (75-74), both at home. The Bulldogs, who compete as members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, are under the direction of first-year head coach Willie Hayes, and 'Bama is the first of two ranked teams they will face during the non-league portion of the schedule, as a trip to Michigan is on tap for December 17.
Alabama is undefeated after five games, and the team recently completed a successful trip to San Juan as it won three games to claim the title in the 2011 Puerto Rico Tipoff. A 65-56 triumph over Purdue in the title tilt was the Tide's fifth win of the season, and coach Anthony Grant's club is hoping to make a serious run in the SEC this year, as well as some noise in the NCAA Tournament.
Alabama has never lost to Alabama A&M, winning each of the four previous encounters, and the Tide is a perfect 27-0 all-time against teams from the SWAC.
Jeremy Crutcher hit 6-of-12 field goal attempts to finish with a team-high 19 points in Alabama A&M's narrow win over Oakwood. Casey Canty added 14 points, Marcus Lee came off the bench to chip in 10, and Demarquelle Tabb logged a double-double consisting of 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Bulldogs turned the ball over 17 times and made good on only 40.6 percent of their total shots, which included a dreadful 4-of-21 effort from three-point range, but they took advantage of 21 giveaways by Oakwood and claimed a 15-6 edge in points from the foul line. Through three games, Canty paces the team in scoring with his 17.3 ppg, while Tabb checks in with 13.7 points and 9.0 caroms per contest. As a collective unit, A&M is shooting 45.8 percent from the field in averaging 79.3 ppg, while at the other end, giving up 75.0 ppg on 45.4 percent field goal efficiency. The Bulldogs are +8.7 in the rebounding department.
Alabama had four players reach double figures in its recent bout with Purdue, as Trevor Releford led the way with 20 points to go along with five assists. JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell poured in 14 points apiece, with latter turning in a double-double performance by adding 10 rebounds. Levi Randolph pitched in with 10 points. As a team, the Crimson Tide knocked down 43.4 percent of their total shots, although only 5-of-19 three-point tries found the bottom of the net. Mitchell is the team's current scoring leader, netting 17.2 ppg on the strength of his .515 field goal percentage, and he also comes up with 9.6 rpg. Green is next with 14.4 points and 6.8 boards per outing, while Releford rounds out the double-digit scorers for 'Bama, which is scoring just 67.0 ppg but allowing only 51.8 ppg.