SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Trevor Releford scored 20 points and No. 16 Alabama went on a big second-half run to win the Puerto Rico Tip-Off title, beating Purdue 65-56 on Sunday night to start 5-0 for the first time since 2006.
The Crimson Tide point guard added five assists and four rebounds, and Alabama used a 19-4 burst midway through the second period to earn its first regular-season tournament title since winning the Las Vegas Classic in 2007.
“We, as a team, understand that we have time to progress and get better,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “We understand that we haven’t scratched the surface of where we could be.”
Robbie Hummel led Purdue (4-1) with 17 points and Kelsey Barlow added 11.
“I thought we did a good job of competing,” Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said. “I think we have some guys who play hard and we have good senior leadership.”
Tony Mitchell had his 10th double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Crimson Tide to earn most outstanding player honors at the tournament.
“We stopped them with our defensive pressure and to have the opportunity to play Wichita State and Purdue was great for us,” Mitchell said.
JaMychal Green added 14 for Alabama and Levi Randolph had 12.
“Purdue did a great job defending us and made it hard for us to score in the first half,” Green said. “Our mindset for this was defending the 3 point line and rebounding.”
Alabama held the Boilermakers to 36 percent shooting (20 of 56).
“I felt that our guys did a good job,” Painter said. “Our issue sometimes was when we got in transition.
“I thought Alabama’s pressure and their guards really hit us hard. We just have to regroup and continue to work hard but we have to work harder on being physical without fouling and being productive.
Alabama hosts Alabama A&M on Wednesday, when Purdue gets a visit from Western Michigan.