Alabama Gets First SEC Basketball Win
Apparently, getting its first 2013 SEC win was a pressing matter for the Alabama basketball team.
Coach Anthony Grant went to his full court press in the game’s final four minutes, and the result was a
much-needed 68-65 win over Tennessee.
“The fight, the heart, the character that we showed in the second half: that was the story today,” said
Grant. “I was extremely proud of them, and happy that that effort resulted in a win.”
Tennessee out-rebounded the Tide 40-25, but Bama’s press and resulting 19-12 edge in points off
turnovers proved to be the difference. Tennessee turned it over 16 times to Bama’s seven.
Vols coach Cuonzo Martin said, “Give those (Bama) guys credit. They protected the home court,
made plays, and played hard-nosed defense. They found a way to win.”
The two Trevors – Lacey and Releford – led Bama with 15 points each. Releford scored all 15 of his
in the final 20 minutes. Levi Randolph chipped in a dozen, and Andrew Steele came off the bench to
provide 11 points and a huge spark on both ends.
“I think our press is something we take pride in. We talk about style of play and making teams
uncomfortable,” said Steele. “You saw a cumulative effect when we were able to get some easy points
Said Releford, “Our intensity on the defensive end allowed us to get out into transition.”
The Tide (9-6, 1-1 SEC) hit its first two shots (both from deep) and then missed nine straight, yet
trailed the equally hapless Vols (8-6, 0-2) just 11-9 at the 11:20 media time out. Tennessee then went
on 9-3 run to take a 20-12 lead and prompt a Grant time out at the 8:05 mark of the half. Two straight
treys by Randolph drew Bama to within two points, and with 5:39 left Rodney Cooper pulled up for a
tying 12-footer during an 8-0 run. The Tide took its second lead of the half when Andrew Steele drove
for a twisting layup with 2:30 left. With five seconds left in the half, Lacey missed the front end of one-
and-one, and then fouled Jordan McRae (21 points) on a 3-pointer. With 1.4 ticks left, he made two of
three to give the Vols a 28-24 lead at intermission. Bama shot but 27 per cent from the floor in the first
Though scoreless at the half, Releford sparked the Tide to open the second stanza, scoring eight of his
team’s first ten points to give the Tide a 34-32 lead just over three minutes in. Lacey nailed a 3-pointer
to break a tie with 14:40 left, and Randolph pulled up from 15 to make it 39-35 with 14 minutes left.
An old-fashioned 3-point play by Releford put Bama up five with 13:19 to go. A follow slam by Devonta
Pollard brought the announced crowd of 12,093 to life and tied the game at 49 with 7:55 left. Lacey
converted a 3-point play of his own to put Bama up 52-51 with 6:21 to go, and the Vols scored four
straight to go back in front. Two free throws each by Randolph and Steele put the Tide up 56-55, and the
press caused a turnover leading to a driving Steele bucket. Tennessee called time with 3:23 to go, and
the press led to another Vols turnover. Steele made two free throws, stole the ball, fed Releford, and it
got loud when the Tide took its biggest lead at 62-55 at the 2:55 mark. Martin tried another time out to
stem the Tide.
Lacey hit from the lane to answer a Trae Golden 3-point play, then stole the ball and drove for two.
Another 3-point play, this by McRae, drew UT to 66-63 with 1:01 left. Lacey missed a trey, and Martin
took his last time out with 19.9 left. Needing a three to tie, McRae scored from short distance, and
Releford was fouled with 7.5 ticks left. The junior drained both to make it 68-65, Golden’s trey clanged
off the iron, and time expired.
The Tide travels to Starkville to face Mississippi State Wednesday. Tip time is 8 p.m., with CSS set to
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