TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Donta Hall had 13 points and 14 rebounds to help Alabama edge Rhode Island 68-64 on Wednesday night.
John Petty and Daniel Giddens added 12 points apiece for the Crimson Tide (7-2), who used its post players to compensate for the loss of its star point guard Collin Sexton for the majority of the game.
Jarvis Garrett scored 18 points to lead Rhode Island (5-3).
Sexton left the game around the seven-minute mark of the first half after being poked in the eye while bringing the ball up the court. He went to the locker room with a towel over his eye, and did not return until there was about six minutes left in the game.
When Sexton finally did get back on the floor, he drained an important 3-point basket and made two clutch free throws that extended Alabama’s lead to three with under a minute remaining. Coupled with more free throws by Dazon Ingram, it was just enough to hold off the Rams’ strong finish down the stretch.
Sexton finished with 11 points and Ingram had 10 points and 14 rebounds.
The Crimson Tide found its scoring by dumping the ball into the paint, and big men Hall and Giddens rewarded them with efficiency around the rim. Hall made 3 of 6 shots from the floor and Giddens was 5-of-9 shooting. Hall entered the game leading the nation with a 78 percent field field-goal percentage.
Alabama won the battle on the glass 50-31, and finished with a 17-rebound advantage on the defensive end.
The Crimson Tide held URI to 25 points in the first half, and the Rams converted on just 26 percent of their shots in the first 20 minutes. That number got much better in the second half, as URI shot 47 percent to close the game.