(Photo credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports)
No. 22 Alabama sank its first nine shots of the game and kept on rolling to a 98-67 victory against Mercer on Friday night in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Mark Sears scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half for the Crimson Tide (4-0), who fell just short of reaching triple-digits for the fourth straight game to begin the season. Alabama hasn't opened a campaign with four games of 100-plus scoring since 1956-57.
Nick Pringle and Jarin Stevenson added 14 points each and Aaron Estrada had 10 as the Crimson Tide extended their home winning streak to 19 games. Sears went 8 of 12 from the field and 7 of 8 from the foul line while contributing six assists and five rebounds.
Alabama shot 59.3 percent (35 of 59) from the field and 42.1 percent (8 of 19) from 3-point range, outrebounded Mercer by a 44-30 margin and got points from 11 players.
Jalyn McCreary had 17 points and eight rebounds and Amanze Ngumezi added 11 points to lead the Bears (1-3), who shot 40.6 percent (26 of 64) overall and 21.4 percent (3 of 14) from deep.
Up by 27 at halftime, Alabama's advantage grew to 61-31 on Rylan Griffen's layup with 16:34 to play.
Pringle's alley-oop dunk on a feed from Sears made it 81-51 with 7:48 remaining.
The lead reached 90-53 on Pringle's layup with 4:55 left.
The Tide got to 97 points on Sam Walters' layup with 2:31 remaining but finally went cold and fell short of the century mark.
Alabama came out firing, building a 19-6 lead on perfect 9-for-9 shooting to begin the night.
Mercer didn't make its first field goal until Ngumezi's jumper 5:12 into the game.
The Tide ended the first half on a 12-0 run. A layup by Sears beat the halftime buzzer to make it 56-29.
Alabama shot 79.3 percent (23 of 29) from the field in the first half, including 6 of 8 from downtown.
This was a campus game for the Emerald Coast Classic, which continues on Nov. 24 in Niceville, Fla., with the Crimson Tide facing Ohio State and Mercer taking on Tennessee State.
--Field Level Media