Feb. 7, 2012
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AUBURN, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team moved to 16-7 on the season and 5-4 in Southeastern Conference play with a decisive 68-50 victory over Auburn inside Auburn Arena Tuesday night. The Crimson Tide has now won three consecutive conference games and four in a row over the Tigers. Auburn falls to 13-11 overall and 3-7 in the SEC.
"Obviously any time you put these two teams together there's going to be a lot of excitement," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "Our guys understood the challenge that we had. I thought we were able to create some transition opportunities. We handled the changing defenses well and everyone that stepped on the floor for UA gave a great effort."
Senior forward JaMychal Green led Alabama with 19 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Trevor Releford netted 15 points while sophomore guard Charles Hankerson, Jr. added 14 points off the bench. Freshman guard Rodney Cooper scored all eight of his points in the second-half of the matchup including 2-of-2 from the three-point line.
Alabama shot 24-of-52 (46.2%) from the field, including 6-of-14 (42.9%) from beyond the arc. The Tide's three-point percentage was its fourth highest of the season. Alabama's bench totaled 28 points against the Tigers, its third biggest output of the season and second-biggest in a SEC game.
After being down 14-7 in the early going, the Tide closed out the final 11:43 of the first half with a 28-10 run on the way to a 35-24 halftime lead. Alabama's half-time edge came on a strong showing from its bench including four points from sophomore center Carl Engstrom and a 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the three-point arc by Hankerson.
"I thought we came out with great energy and weathered the storm early," Grant said. "I'm proud of way our guys responded."
To start the second half, Auburn ignited a quick 5-0 run to cut the lead to six before the Tide went on a 19-6 run of its own, with eight of those points coming from Cooper, leading to a 54-35 Alabama advantage. The Tide led by as much as 20 in the second half before winning by 18. Guard Frankie Sullivan led Auburn with 21 points.
Next up, the Tide travels to Baton Rouge, La. to face the LSU Tigers Saturday, Feb. 11. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST.