Hot-shooting Alabama blows out Liberty


Latrell Wrightsell Jr. scored 19 points in a reserve role as Alabama blew out Liberty 101-56 in its nonleague finale Saturday afternoon at Birmingham, Ala.

Mark Sears scored 16 points, Aaron Estrada had 13, Grant Nelson added 12 points and reserve Sam Walters posted 10 points for Alabama (8-5), which has won back-to-back games for the first time since mid-November. Wrightsell finished 6-for-8 from the floor.

This one came at officially a neutral-site venue, but the outcome thrilled most of the fans.

The result should put the Crimson Tide in a better frame of mind heading into Southeastern Conference play after it connected on 14 of 28 attempts from 3-point range.

Alabama built a 30-point lead with more than 10 minutes to play and finished with 58.3 percent shooting from the field. Alabama scored 111 points a week earlier vs. Eastern Kentucky.

Kaden Metheny’s 14 points and Zach Cleveland’s 13 points led Liberty (10-4), which shot 33.3 percent from the floor.

Estrada also had 10 rebounds. Alabama’s Jarin Stevenson scored all nine of his points in the first half.

Alabama shot 57.1 percent from the field in the first half. That included going 9-for-15 on 3-pointers. Wrightsell was 4-for-5 on first-half 3s. Nine players scored in the first half for the Crimson Tide.

Walters made a pair of 3-pointers in a two-minute span as the Crimson Tide went up 29-19. Then came a 9-2 burst in 57 seconds with Sears canning a 3, Rylan Griffen converting a three-point play and Wrightsell drilled a 3-pointer.

Liberty went through a four-minute scoring drought and never recovered. The Flames scored three points in last five minutes of the opening half.

Liberty made only 37.9 percent of its first-half shots and collected only four offensive rebounds. The Flames attempted two free throws in the first half.

The game was part of the annual C.M. Newton Classic.