TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP)Brandon Miller had 14 points and 13 rebounds in his college basketball debut as No. 20 Alabama beat Longwood 75-54 on Monday night.
Fellow freshman Rylan Griffen also scored 14 for the Crimson Tide, and point guard Mark Sears had 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Freshman guard Jaden Bradley added 11 points and six boards.
But it was Alabama’s defense that keyed the season-opening win, holding Longwood to 27% shooting and blocking nine shots. The Crimson Tide outscored Longwood in the lane 48-24.
Senior forward Michael Christmas had 12 points and five rebounds to lead Longwood. Walyn Napper added eight points and three assists.
Alabama held an eight-point lead at halftime and extended it at the foul line, making 13 of 18 free throws in the second half.
Freshmen accounted for 48 points in Alabama’s season debut, including three of the four players who scored in double figures. Miller, Bradley, Griffen and Noah Clowney (nine points) also combined to pull down 32 of the team’s 67 rebounds.
Alabama is likely to get more production from returning players when its two most veteran guards, Jahvon Quinerly and Dom Welch, return from injury. Welch is day-to-day, but Quinerly will miss several weeks after injuring a knee in last season’s NCAA Tournament. Until then it could be a heavy dose of underclassmen, especially considering both sophomores on the roster (Charles Bediako and Nimari Burnett) were in the starting lineup.
Longwood plays at George Mason on Friday night.
Alabama hosts Liberty on Friday night.
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