Kira Lewis Jr. had 17 points and eight assists, Donta Hall added 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Alabama beat Stephen F. Austin 79-69 on Sunday night.
Hall was 6 of 7 from the field and notched his fifth double-double of the season for the Crimson Tide (9-3), who won their fourth straight.
Stephen F. Austin rallied late in the second half, but Alabama stopped the momentum with a 9-2 run that ended with Lewis’ pair of free throws to make it 77-67 with 1:52 left in the game.
“We were able to build a pretty comfortable lead, but they cut into in the second half,” said Alabama coach Avery Johnson. “We made some free throws down the stretch, hit some big shots and got some timely rebounds and were able to pull out a win. Riley Norris was huge for us, Donta was huge as well. When we have four or five guys scoring in double figures, we can be a pretty tough team to beat.”
Norris added 14 points, including four 3-pointers, and Tevin Mack scored 12 for Alabama.
Hall’s basket with 6:14 left in the first half tied it at 21 and sparked a 22-9 run for the Tide that made it 41-30 with 1:48 left in the half. Alabama never trailed again, though the Lumberjacks (7-5) closed the deficit to 68-65 on Kevon Harris‘ jumper with 5:31 left in the game.
Stephen F. Austin: The Lumberjacks hosted an SEC opponent in William R. Johnson Coliseum for the first time in program history. Their record against SEC opponents dropped to 4-28 all-time, but they can take solace in keeping it competitive until the final two minutes.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide outrebounded the Lumberjacks 47-31, the 11th time in 12 contests this season that Alabama has outrebounded its opponent. The Lumberjacks (Southland Conference) were the Tide’s fourth nonconference opponent that was projected in the preseason to win its conference. The others were Georgia State (Sun Belt), Northeastern (Colonial Athletic Association) and UCF (American Athletic Conference).
HE SAID IT
“I was really concerned about playing this game down here, but we thought it was the best thing for us to prepare for a tough SEC league slate,” Johnson said. “We’ve played in some tough environments and this was a very tough environment.”
Stephen F. Austin: The Lumberjacks open Southland Conference play on Wednesday, hosting SE Louisiana.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide host No. 16 Kentucky on Saturday to open its SEC schedule.