HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - Collin Sexton scored 21 points and John Petty added 18 as Alabama rallied past Mercer for an 80-79 victory on Tuesday night in the Rocket City Classic.
Petty, a two-time Alabama Mr. Basketball as a Huntsville prep star, hit four of the Crimson Tide's six 3-pointers in his homecoming. Dazon Ingram added 11 and Alex Reese 10 for the Crimson Tide (8-3).
Demetre Rivers had 24 points and Ria'n Holland added 21 to lead Mercer (6-6). Holland missed a last-second 3-point attempt after a Tide turnover.
Alabama trailed at halftime 35-31, and was down seven at the 10-minute mark of the second half. But it went on a 15-2 run over the next four minutes, highlighted by a Petty 3-pointer with 7:27 to play, that gave the Tide the lead for good.
Alabama: After going 10-for-24 shooting on 3-pointers in a six-point loss at Arizona, the Tide made just 1 of 16 3-point shots in the first half, and finished 6 of 28 from long range.
Mercer: The Bears didn't figure on a potential buzzer-beater after Alabama enjoyed a six-point lead with 11 seconds to go. But some sloppy Tide play gave Mercer an inbounds play with one second remaining, and Holland's 25-foot desperation 3 hit the front rim and caromed away.
Alabama's neutral-site game with Mercer was sandwiched between a visit to No. 18 Arizona (a six-point loss on Dec. 9) and a meeting Friday night in Birmingham with Texas (8-3). The Tide, with a schedule ranked 12th toughest in the nation, opens SEC play against No. 8 Texas A&M on Dec. 30.
Mercer, the preseason favorite in the Southern Conference, hosts Kennesaw State on Dec. 28.
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