— NEW YORK (AP) — Trevor Releford and Alabama passed an early test with ease in a championship-game blowout.
Releford hit all five of his 3-point shots and scored 25 points as the Crimson Tide beat Villanova 77-55 on Friday night, running away in the second half to win the 2K Sports Classic benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.
"I thought we came out tonight for 40 minutes and really did a good job," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "Our style of play defensively, I thought it was a great effort. You look at the numbers from a defensive standpoint, I felt like it was a pretty dominating performance by our guys."
Rodney Cooper had 17 points and the Crimson Tide (4-0) broke it open with some sharp 3-point shooting. Alabama, which made only 22 of 61 attempts (36 percent) from long range in its first three games, went 9 for 15 beyond the arc (60 percent) against a Villanova team that had held opponents to 33 percent on 3s.
"I'm not surprised," Cooper said when asked about his team's fast start. "In practice every day we try to challenge each other, so I'm not surprised at all."
JayVaughn Pinkston had 17 points to lead the Wildcats (3-1) and was selected to the all-tournament team in his return home to New York. Freshman guard Ryan Arcidiacono scored 11 for Villanova, which shot a miserable 32 percent from the field.
"It wasn't really a disappointment, it was just a learning experience for us," Pinkston said. "We learned tonight that we've just got to play more together and play Villanova basketball rather than one-on-one."
After leading by three at halftime, Alabama briefly fell behind and then took control for good with a 19-4 spurt early in the second half.
Cooper got it started with eight quick points in a 3:06 span, including a 3-pointer and a three-point play. Releford, who finished 8 for 10 from the floor and 4 of 5 at the foul line, had a fast-break layup to put the Crimson Tide ahead 45-35 with 11:35 to go.