Behind 17 points from Mark Sears and a tenacious defensive effort, No. 22 Alabama rolled to a 102-46 home win over South Alabama on Tuesday night in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Sears also added five rebounds and five assists and was 3-for-4 from 3-point range as Alabama (3-0) reached triple digits in points for the third time in as many games this season.
The Crimson Tide limited the Jaguars to 23.3 shooting (14-for-60) from the field and 17.2 percent (5-for-29) from behind the arc after head coach Nate Oats challenged his team to play better defensively.
The Crimson Tide had given up 73 and 80 points in their first two games of the season.
Among Alabama’s other starters, Nick Pringle finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, and Grant Nelson collected six points, six assists, five rebounds and three blocks. Sam Walters added 16 points and Mohamed Wague 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Crimson Tide.
Maxwell Land led South Alabama (1-2) with 15 points, and Isiah Gaiter had eight points.
South Alabama led 5-4 with 15:42 to play in the first half behind five points from Marshall Kearing. The game was tied at 15-all with less than 12 minutes to play in the opening frame before a 23-2 run — sparked by two 3-pointers from Sears, seven points from Rylan Griffen, a thunderous dunk by Nelson and a layup by Pringle — gave Alabama a 38-17 lead with less than three minutes to play until halftime.
The Crimson Tide took a 47-23 lead into the half behind 13 points from Sears and eight points from Walters
Courtesy of a 10-3 run to open the second half, sparked by tenacious defense and two Pringle dunks, Alabama pushed its lead to 57-26 with less than 18 minutes to play in the second half.
Alabama extended its lead to 64-30 with 11:01 to go in the game behind a 3-pointer and two free throws from Davin Cosby Jr. and a layup by Wague to put the game on ice.