Senior forward JaMychal Green scored a game-high 21 points to go with 14 rebounds, notching the 22nd double-double of his career, to lead the No. 13/13 Alabama men's basketball team to a 72-64 victory over the VCU Rams Sunday night in Coleman Coliseum.
Junior forward Tony Mitchell added 13 points while sophomore guard Trevor Releford chipped in nine points and three rebounds. The Crimson Tide improves to 7-0 on the season with the win while VCU falls to 3-3.
In a tight contest that featured 10 ties and 16 lead changes, Alabama closed the game on a 13-4 run over the final 4:31, allowing the Rams just one field goal during the stretch. The Crimson Tide outscored VCU by a 40-24 margin on points in the paint with Green notching 12 of his 21 down low.
"We knew coming in that we had very similar styles of play," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "They came out in the first half and really dictated the tempo. Their defense was outstanding and it got us frustrated in terms of trying to run our offense. I thought things turned around in terms of our offense (in the second half)."
The first eleven minutes of action consisted of six ties and seven lead changes with neither team holding an advantage of more than three. With VCU leading 21-18 at the 9:18 juncture, the Tide reeled off six straight to take a 24-21 advantage before taking its biggest lead of the half at 30-25 on a bucket by Releford. From that point, the Rams scored eight of the final ten points of the half to take a 33-32 lead at intermission, marking the first time Alabama has trailed at the half this season.
Green jump-started Alabama at the outset of the second half, scoring eight of his 13 second-half points over the first 4:23 to power the Tide to a 42-40 lead. The Rams followed with a 10-2 run to take its biggest advantage of the game at 50-44 before Alabama mounted a steady comeback.
An end-to-end steal by Lacey and ensuing basket by Green ended the Rams run and a 15-7 UA scoring run over a nearly nine-minute stretch. The Tide eventually grabbed ahold of the lead at 59-57 at the 4:56 mark after a three-point play by Releford. After VCU briefly grabbed the advantage back on the ensuing possession with a three-point basket, Alabama reeled off seven straight to take a 66-60 lead with just over two minutes left in the game before closing it out from the free throw line in the final moments.