Tony Mitchell, Charvez Davis and Trevor Releford all scored 12 points to lead Alabama to a 68-44 victory over Coastal Carolina on Tuesday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
The top-seeded Crimson Tide (22-11), which was left out of the NCAA field after winning the SEC West, built a 20-point lead late in the first half and never let the short-handed Chanticleers (28-6) get anything going.
“I told our team, we’ll either catch them brooding or they’re going to be out to make a statement,” said Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis, who spent a decade at Tide rival Auburn. “The team we played was out to make a statement.”
Alabama coach Anthony Grant and his players insisted that the NCAA omission wasn’t the motivation.
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“That’s behind us,” Grant said. “We needed to turn the page.”
Davis agreed but added, “Any time we step on the floor, we try to send a message.”
Now 17-0 at Coleman Coliseum, Alabama will host New Mexico in the second round.
Anthony Raffa and Chad Gray led Coastal Carolina with 10 points.
Kent State 71, Saint Mary’s 70: Kent State scored four points in the final 11 seconds to upset the Gaels in the NIT.
Michael Porrini, who had 19 points, scored with 11 seconds left to cut Saint Mary’s lead to 70-69, and Justin Greene scored the winner with three seconds left after a turnover by the Gaels.
Mickey McConnell’s final shot missed for Saint Mary’s.
MORE NIT HIGHLIGHTS
Yorel Hawkins scored 17 points, and Fairfield’s defense shut down Colorado State in a 62-60 win over the Rams. Kendall Williams and Drew Gordon scored 18 points each to help New Mexico defeat UTEP, 69-57. Marshall Moses had 18 points and eight rebounds, and third-seeded Oklahoma State had its highest-scoring first half of the season – 41 points – in a 71-54 victory over sixth-seeded Harvard. Andrew Goudelock had a career-high 39 points, including eight 3-pointers, and College of Charleston beat defending NIT champion Dayton, 94-84. Norris Cole scored 27 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1:23 remaining, and Cleveland State beat Vermont, 63-60. Jermaine Mallett scored a career-high 23 points to lead Missouri State to an 89-76 win over Murray State.
Daequon Montreal scored 14 points to lead Boise State to an 83-80 victory in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational. Jeff Elorriaga added 12 points for the Broncos (21-12) on their home court. Boise State will play Monday against Evansville (16-15), which beat Hofstra, 77-70. Santa Clara built a 17-point first-half lead, then held off a hard-charging Northern Arizona, 68-63, in the first round of the College Insider.com Tournament. Northern Arizona cut its deficit to 64-61 in the final minute before Santa Clara scored four consecutive points.