November 12, 2018 10:01:35 AM
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Freshman guard Kira Lewis Jr. had a career-high 21 points Sunday to lead four players in double figures in the Alabama men's basketball team's 81-73 victory against Appalachian State in the first non-bracketed game in the Charleston Classic at Coleman Coliseum.
With the win, Alabama improved to 2-0, while Appalachian State slipped to 1-1.
Senior forward Donta Hall had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the sixth double-double of his career. Sophomore John Petty added 13 points, while classmate Herbert Jones had 10.
After missing the season opener with an ankle injury, junior guard Dazon Ingram had eight points and eight rebounds off the bench.
"We had lots of highs and lows," Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. "I think we showed some signs of maturity. I don't know if we would have won this game last year. We struggled it certain areas, but we didn't allow it to affect us, especially on the defensive end. In the second half, we still made some plays defensively. Appalachian State is a really good team. They're going to make some noise this year. But I am proud of our guys. We'll just keep moving on, get back to the drawing board and see how we can continue to get better."
Alabama played without Riley Norris and Javian Davis-Fleming.
The Mountaineers took their largest lead, 56-50 with 12 minutes, 4 seconds remaining, but the Crimson Tide polished off a quick 14-3 run to take a 64-57 lead with 7:32 to go. The Crimson Tide then scored seven of the next nine points to make it a 21-5 run, which pushed the lead to 71-61.
Alabama had 21 offensive rebounds. Quick hands also led to nine steals for the Crimson Tide. Herbert Jones had four. The Crimson Tide forced 22 turnovers and had a 26-12 advantage in points off turnovers.
Alabama will continue play in the Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C., when it takes on Northeastern at 1 p.m. Thursday (ESPNU).
n Southern Mississippi 74, SMU 64: At Dallas, Tyree Griffin had 21 points and seven assists to lead four players in double figures Sunday in the Golden Eagles' road win.
Freshman Gabe Watson added 14 on four 3-pointers, while Cortez Edwards had 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds and Ladavius Draine added 10 points for Southern Miss (2-0).
Ethan Chatgois had 25 points and eight rebounds for SMU (1-1).
The game was the first installment of the Cancun Challenge. The Golden Eagles will play their final two games Nov. 20-21 in Mexico.
Southern Miss and SMU also were Conference USA partners from 2005-13. It was the first meeting since the Mustangs joined the American Athletic Conference.
The Mustangs tied the game at 57 with 7:59 left before the Golden Eagles used a 14-4 run in the next 5:22 to pull away. The game featured 10 ties and 10 lead changes.
The Golden Eagles trailed 10-2 early, regained the lead, and trailed 36-35 at halftime. The Golden Eagles took a 49-42 lead at the 15:11 mark on a breakaway layup and free throw by Cortez Edwards.
The Mustangs countered with the next nine points to the 11:39 media timeout, but Griffin hit a 3-pointer from the corner off an inbounds pass to regain a 52-51 lead.
Southern Miss was 13-for-23 (56.5 percent) from the field in the first half, including 8-for-14 from beyond the arc.
"We only gave up two offensive rebounds in second half and had three turnovers," Ole Miss coach Doc Sadler said. "At halftime, we were uncharacteristic from a year ago by turning the ball over (10 times). That was a huge difference in the second half, as well as our recovery on the offensive boards. Also, any time you go 13-for-24 on 3-pointers, you're gonna have a chance to win some games."
Former New Hope High School standout Tyree Stephenson didn't play for the Golden Eagles.
Southern Miss will play at 7 p.m. Thursday at Troy.
n Southern Mississippi 68, Grambling State 47: At Hattiesburg, Shonte Hailes had 18 points, seven rebounds, and five assists for the Lady Eagles (2-0) in their home win Sunday.
Megan Brown had 15 points, while Alarie Mayze had 14 points and six steals. Former Starkville High School standout Kelsey Jones had 10 points in 18 minutes.
Shakyla Hill had eight points on 2-for-8 shooting from the field for Grambling State (1-2).
Southern Miss will go on the road to take on South Alabama at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday in Mobile, Alabama.
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