Alabama runs past North Florida for 76-48 winNorth Florida coach Matthew Driscoll yells during an NCAA college basketball game against Alabama, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/AL.com, Vasha Hunt)
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama head coach Anthony Grant was pleased with how his team responded following two disappointing losses in the NIT Season Tipoff in Madison Square Garden. Coming off losses to Duke and Drexel in New York, Alabama (4-3) led from start to finish in routing North Florida 76-48 Wednesday night to extend its home winning streak to 14 straight regular-season games.
Levi Randolph, with a career-high 20 points, led four players in double-figure scoring. Nick Jacobs had 13 points for his third straight double-figure scoring game, Jimmie Taylor had a career-high 12 points to go with a career-best nine rebounds, and Trevor Releford had 13 points for the Tide. Releford also had five assists.
Charles McRoy and Devin Wilson each scored eight points for the Ospreys.
The Crimson Tide recorded a season-high 45 rebounds, and improved to 4-1 this season when it out-rebounds its opponent. They also had a season-high 18 assists and a season low 11 turnovers.
Alabama scored the first 11points of the game and bolted to a 19-4 lead on a lay-up by Algie Key at the 12:23 mark.
Alabama outscored the Ospreys 40-25 in the second half. It held its largest lead, 76-45, with 2:19 to go on two free throws by Releford. It was the first time this season that the Crimson Tide led throughout the entire game.
''Our guys today really set the tone from a defensive standpoint. We played with energy at the beginning of the game, when we stretched the lead a little bit,'' stated Grant. ''In the second half I felt like our guys came out with great focus and great energy. I thought it was a dominant defensive performance. I thought our guys contributed in a lot of different ways. Look at the stat sheet and you'll see 18 assists. Rebounding-wise I thought we did a good job in the second half. We came up with 50-50 balls, which allowed us to get out in transition. I thought our guys played with a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm. I think our chemistry is good. I think this is a really close knit team.''
Grant was pleased how his team responded following the losses in New York. ''We played some good teams in New York, but unfortunately we went 0-2. I think our guys understand the disappointment we had (there). We've turned the page and we're moving forward. We try to learn from every game we play. We try to figure it out as a team on what we need to do to get better and have the kind of success that we want.''
North Florida fell to 5-5 and is now 0-9 all-time against SEC teams.
''Alabama did something tonight that they hadn't done all year. They made shots they hadn't made earlier in the year, and they did it at critical times,'' stated North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll in summing up his team's loss.