SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- When JaMychal Green went to the bench with two quick fouls, Tony Mitchell stepped up for Alabama (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP).
Mitchell scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Crimson Tide to a 62-42 win over Maryland on Thursday night in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.Mitchell was 7 of 12 from the field, including 3 for 4 from 3-point range, and Trevor Releford scored 10 points for the Crimson Tide (3-0), who grabbed a double-digit lead early in the first half that they would not relinquish."My mindset was to go out and get my team a win, anything I can do to win," Mitchell said.Alabama cruised despite Green heading to the bench early in the game with foul trouble."We are a better team with JaMychal on the floor, but Tony gave us a great performance throughout the game," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "I thought everyone had their minds focused on the game tonight."Green, who scored 18 points in each of Alabama's first two games, was hardly needed against a cold-shooting Maryland squad that went 13 for 49 from the field (26.5 percent). The Terps (1-1) hit just two of their 12 attempts from 3-point range."We were a train wreck falling off a cliff in the first half," first-year Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said.Green, a senior forward, was 2 for 8 for seven points in 12 minutes for the Tide.Both teams said Alabama's tough defense and physical play were the keys to the game."Our defensive effort really told the story," Grant said. "I'm proud of our guys. We came out with great focus. Our defense throughout the whole game was outstanding."James Padgett scored nine points and Ashton Pankey had 10 rebounds for Maryland, which was outrebounded 47-29."They are such a great defensive team. You could see it," Panky said.Maryland was the first major conference opponent for Alabama, which opened the season with a pair of home victories over North Florida and Oakland. The Tide narrowly missed reaching the NCAA tournament last season and lost to Wichita State in the final of the NIT.Turgeon, who was lured away from Texas A&M to replace the retired Gary Williams, saw room for improvement across the board."We missed a lot of shots," he said. "Rebounding was disappointing and they jumped a little higher and stronger."The Puerto Rico Tip-Off runs through Sunday. Alabama will get a rematch of the NIT final with Wichita State in the second round, while Maryland takes Colorado. The other schools in the field are Temple, Western Michigan, Purdue and Iona.