Hall’s dou­ble-dou­ble lifts Crim­son Tide past Rhode Is­land

Woonsocket Call - - Sports - By DREW HILL As­so­ci­ated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — When Alabama needed him most, Collin Sex­ton came to the res­cue in the Crim­son Tide's 68-64 vic­tory over Rhode Is­land on Wed­nes­day night.

Alabama's star point guard left the game around the seven-minute mark of the first half af­ter be­ing poked in the eye while bring­ing the ball up the court. Sex­ton went to the locker room with a towel over his eye, and did not re­turn un­til there was about six min­utes left in the game.

When Sex­ton fi­nally re­turned, he drained an im­por­tant 3-point bas­ket and made two clutch free throws that ex­tended Alabama's lead to three with un­der a minute re­main­ing. Cou­pled with more free throws by Da­zon In­gram, it was just enough to hold off the Rams.

Donta Hall had 13 points and 14 re­bounds to lead Alabama (7-2). John Petty and Daniel Gid­dens added 12 points apiece for the Crim­son Tide, who used its post play­ers to com­pen­sate for the loss of Sex­ton for the ma­jor­ity of the game. Sex­ton fin­ished with 11 points and In­gram had 10 points and 14 re­bounds.

"If one player goes down, ev­ery­one has to step up," Petty said. "We just kept the in­ten­sity when he (Sex­ton) went out, and kept push­ing it un­til he came back."

Jarvis Garrett scored 18 points to lead Rhode Is­land (5-3).

The Crim­son Tide found its scor­ing by dump­ing the ball into the paint, and big men Hall and Gid­dens re­warded them with ef­fi­ciency around the rim. Hall made 3 of 6 shots from the floor and Gid­dens was 5-of-9 shoot­ing. Hall en­tered the game lead­ing the na­tion with a 78 per­cent field-goal per­cent­age.

"Stay­ing out of foul trou­ble, hon­estly, has been the big­gest thing for me at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son," Gid­dens said. "I knew what I was ca­pa­ble of do­ing in the post, not only this game, but through­out the sea­son."

Alabama won the bat­tle on the glass 50-31, and fin­ished with a 17re­bound ad­van­tage on the de­fen­sive end.

"We did, prob­a­bly, as good of a job as we have done all year with every­body go­ing to the de­fen­sive glass tonight," Alabama coach Avery John­son said.

The Crim­son Tide held URI to 25 points in the first half, and the Rams con­verted on just 26 per­cent of their shots in the first 20 min­utes. That num­ber got much bet­ter in the sec­ond half, as URI shot 47 per­cent to close the game.

"You saw a team that scram­bled and cov­ered for each other," John­son said. "Ob­vi­ously, they took charges and re­bounded. They didn't get into our paint as eas­ily as some of the other teams that have got­ten in the paint on us."

URI was able to stay in the game de­spite poor shoot­ing by forc­ing Alabama into 24 give­aways, which the Rams used to score 26 points.

"They are a lit­tle loose with the ball," Rhode Is­land coach Dan Hur­ley said. "They are young play­ers, and we knew they would turn it over a lot. We just didn't think that we would botch as many open-court op­por­tu­ni­ties as we did."

Alabama: Won the fi­nal non-con­fer­ence game played at Cole­man Coli­seum this sea­son. The Crim­son Tide fin­ished its non-con­fer­ence sched­ule with a 5-1 record in Tuscaloosa.

Rhode Is­land: Strug­gled shoot­ing the ball on of­fense, but also had trou­ble stop­ping Alabama from scor­ing in­side. The Rams have lost both of their true road games this sea­son.

John Petty fin­ished with 12 points, and took on some of the ball-han­dling du­ties while Sex­ton was out of the game. His four as­sists against the Rams matches his ca­reer high.

"I was just try­ing to put my­self in the best po­si­tion, and be ag­gres­sive," Petty said. "I saw that I had a mis­match. With me, I al­ways know I'm go­ing to make the right play. I saw the mis­match, so I just went to the goal ag­gres­sively and got fouls, and put my team in the best po­si­tion to win."

John­son said that Sex­ton could not see out of his eye when he was first taken to the locker room, and he no­ticed blood on the top part of his eye. Sex­ton re­turned late in the game when he re­gained some of his vi­sion and was cleared by a trainer. John­son said he will be ex­am­ined again be­fore mak­ing the trip to Ari­zona.

Alabama trav­els to Tus­con, Ari­zona to take on the Wild­cats on Satur­day.

Rhode Is­land be­gins a five-game home stand on Dec. 16 against the Col­lege of Charleston.

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