PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP)James Bolden scored 23 points and hit six 3-pointers to help Alabama beat Southern Miss 83-68 in Friday night’s seventh-place game at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The West Virginia graduate transfer hit four second-half 3s that helped spark the Crimson Tide’s run to finally put the game away.
Alabama (3-4) opened the game on a 20-4 run, only to squander that early margin and found itself in a one-possession game for several minutes into the second half.
But the Crimson Tide shot 72.7% after halftime (16 of 22) and made 8 of 11 3s. They finished the game shooting 53.8% overall and making a season high 15 of 33 3s.
Kira Lewis Jr. added 20 points for Alabama, while John Petty Jr. – who had 34 points against Iowa State for the No. 2 scoring total in the tournament’s nine-year history – finished with 10.
Gabe Watson had 19 points to lead Southern Miss (2-6), which closed the first half on an 11-3 run to get back within 38-35 and make a game of it after the break. Southern Miss shot 49%.
Southern Miss: For first-year coach Jay Ladner, the mission was to have his players get an up-close look at elite basketball programs in a high-profile tournament. But it was also about having them maintain perspective and confidence amid the likely tough results while getting ready for Conference USA play. They lost big to No. 8 Gonzaga in their opener but kept battling with No. 13 Seton Hall in their second game, then offered a positive sign by fighting back from a big early deficit Friday night before fading midway through the second half.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide salvaged a win in the 12th and final game of the three-day tournament. Alabama lost its opener against No. 6 North Carolina, then saw Iowa State shake its outside shooting struggles to hit 15 3s in Thursday night’s loss. They looked on their way to an easy win after the opening 6 minutes but squandered most of that lead and had to work longer to put this one away.
Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles host Tulane on Wednesday.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide host Stephen F. Austin – which on Tuesday upset No. 1 Duke to end the Blue Devils’ 150-game nonconference home winning streak – next Friday.
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