"We're excited that we were able to finish up our non-conference schedule with a victory and we had a lot of positive performances tonight, led by (Obasohan and Edwards)," said Johnson. "Arthur Edwards, he continues to be consistent on both ends and Retin Obasohan had an amazing performance today on both ends of the floor, specifically defensively. Just great leadership from both these men and our guys have accepted responsibility and trying to improve their individual performances while trying to help us win as a team."
He added that his team still has a ways to go offensively, noting the Tide had 13 assists but also 13 turnovers, with many of those miscues of the careless variety.
Alabama did shoot 50 percent from the field in the second half while holding the visitors (5-10) to 25 percent shooting over the final 20 minutes.
"We'll continue to get better (in terms of the offense), but another stellar defensive outing from our team," said Johnson.
The game was close early, but with the Spartans holding a 6-3 lead, the Tide used an 11-2 run to build a lead of 14-8 with just over 13 minutes remaining in the first half.
Obasohan, Edwards lead Crimson Tide past Norfolk State 68-49 (via Crimson Magazine)
Courtesy of Crimson Magazine
In its last non-conference game before entering Southeastern Conference play next week, Avery Johnson's University of Alabama basketball team struggled somewhat in the early going against Robert Jones' Norfolk State team on Saturday, allowing the Spartans to hang around for a half.
But the Crimson Tide (9-3), led by seniors Retin Obasohan and Arthur Edwards, turned it up a notch offensively and defensively in the final 20 minutes on the way to a 68-49 victory in front of 10,884 at Coleman Coliseum.
But with the Crimson Tide up 19-12 after a trey by Riley Norris, Norfolk State scored 9 of the next 13 points to trim the Alabama advantage to 23-21 with just under seven minutes left.
Obasohan and Edwards, though, spurred an 8-2 Alabama spurt that pushed the lead back out to 31-23. The Tide led 33-28 at the intermission.
Alabama scored the first five points of the second half to extend the lead to 10 points at 38-28. The run eventually grew to 15-5, with the Tide increasing its advantage to 48-33 at the 14:19 mark. Freshman Donta Hall put a punctuation on that particular run with an emphatic dunk.
The Tide's lead remained at around 14 points after this spurt, and a later 12-0 Alabama run increased the lead to 64-38 with just over five minutes remaining.
Alabama cruised after this point to its ninth win of the year and its seventh victory in its last eight games.
Obasohan led the way with a game-high 23 points (hitting 9 of 12 field goals) with Edwards adding 15 (on five 3-pointers) and Norris 10. Obasohan also added 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals. Edwards tallied 3 assists.
Michael Kessens led the Tide with 9 rebounds, while Norris had 8 and Jimmie Taylor 7.
Justin Coleman led Alabama with a game-high 6 assists.
Alabama out-rebounded the Spartans 36-29 and outscored Norfolk State in the paint 18-12. The Tide also outscored the Spartans in second-change points 11-6
Alabama returns to action to begin SEC play on the road Thursday, Jan. 7, when it travels to Oxford to take on Ole Miss, which will mark the debut game in the Rebels’ brand new basketball facility – the Pavilion at Ole Miss.
The contest will tip off at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
"I am ecstatic (about beginning conference play)," said Obasohan. "Everything just increases, the stakes and the atmosphere and the competition and the intensity. I'm really excited but at the same time I know this team is ready for it. We have great guys with great character so I'm really looking forward to getting started."
Special thanks: Alabama Athletics Communications
Courtesy of Crimson Magazine
I am a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where I currently reside and work. I am doing regular sports and feature writing for the Tuscaloosa-based Druid City Living and also am the Alabama beat writer for Crimson Magazine. I am a 1993 graduate of the University of Alabama, where I wrote for The Crimson White. I have an extensive background in newspaper journalism, having served as a sports editor and reporter for the Delta Democrat Times, St. Clair News-Aegis, Andalusia Star-News and the St. Clair County News.
I also have my own sports blog site, The Sports Connection, which I partner on with a friend of mine, and we began this site in November of 2012. I write blog on a variety of sports subject, and have also had guest contributors write their own blogs for the site. I have interviewed prominent sports figures for the site, including Paul Finebaum of the new SEC Network.Website: www.linkedin.com/in/stan-griffin-10506923
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