BIRMINGHAM | The Alabama basketball team put on a great display of shooting in the first half and a not-as-great display of ball handling for a stretch of the second half but ultimately got more than enough production from junior John Petty to hold off Samford 105-87 in the Chick-Fil-A Basketball Classic on Wednesday night.

 Petty poured in 39 points, including 10 3-pointers, and added 10 rebounds for UA. The 39 points was a career high for Petty, and the most for a UA player since Colin Sexton’s 40 in the 3-on-5 game vs. Minnesota in November 2017. The 105 points is the most by an Alabama team since a 105-93 win over Louisiana in November 2016.

 “The shots I was taking were wide open. My teammates were getting inside and finding me. I have played in this gym numerous times (in leading Mae Jemison High School to back-to-back AHSAA State tournament championships) so I have a feel for the place, for the rims.”

 “Our shooting got us off to a good start,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “Incredible job by Petty.”

 “Samford really fought back after getting down early. I thought our defense really let down. We’ve got to go out with an attitude that we are going to dominate for 40 minutes and we didn’t do that.”

   The Crimson Tide got off to the hottest start as possible, making its first six 3-point attempts to jump to a 22-5 lead by the first media time out. Petty had four of those 3-pointers and went on to record 21 in the first half.

 Alabama was up by 25 points, 66-41, with 17 minutes remaining but Samford went on an extended 36-17 run and trailed just 83-77 with 9:43 remaining.

 “When we get on a roll, we can get on a good roll,” Samford coach Scott Padgett said. “I thought we could do that with the press. It wasn’t anything about Alabama that made me say ‘they’re going to turn the ball over.’ It was me looking for something to get my team going.”

 The Crimson Tide regained control in the final 10 minutes and pulled back away.

 “One of the things we talked about was that Petty is one of those guys who when he gets hot, he gets very hot. I should have called a time out after he made his first one because we had gone over that in (practice) and then the first time he catches the ball, we are 20 feet away from him.”

 Brandon Austin, who transferred to Samford from Alabama, led the Bulldogs (6-7) with 21 points. Guard Josh Sharkey had 18 points and 15 assists for Samford.

 Alex Reese added 16 points for Alabama while Herb Jones scored nine points and had a career-high seven assists.

   Alabama will play again on Saturday, facing Belmont at Huntsville’s von Braun Civic Center.


 Reach Cecil Hurt at or 205-722-0225.