Alabama takes the 2011 Puerto Rico tipoff Championship with a solid win over Purdue. We jumped out to an early 9-0 lead, forcing turnovers and scoring in transition. Purdue settled down and had some success in making us play an ugly, half-court style of game. When Trevor Releford came out for a rest, it started a 7 minute or so scoring drought for us. We will not be able to survive those types of droughts against very good teams, but give Purdue a lot of credit for playing good defense. The good news is, while we lost the lead, the defense played so good that we did not allow Purdue to take a meaningful lead during out dry spells.
The backup PG situation continues to be perplexing. After not playing at all in the last game, Ben Eblen was first to run the point in Releford's absence. He played better in the 2nd half, and we actually extended our lead in the 2nd half while he was in the game.
Releford continues to increase his scoring, he has a knack for getting to the line and making free throws. Purdue had troubles with JaMychal in the post, and Tony Mitchell was able to knock down a couple of 3's. Of the freshmen, it was Levi Randolph's time to shine. He played amazing defense and scored 12 points.
I liked the team's reaction at the end of the game. No running all over the court and acting like we had just won a major championship. It was business as usual, this team expected to win this tournament and they took care of business. What a difference a year makes.
Up next, Alabama A&M Bulldogs come to Tuscaloosa for a 7pm tipoff Wednesday night. It would be great for this team have a good crowd on hand to welcome them home after winning the Puerto Rico tournament. Realistically, it's a 7pm start the day before Thanksgiving against AAMU, so I will probably be part of a very small gathering.