Feb. 22, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Led by a career-best 33 points from junior guard Levi Randolph, the Alabama men's basketball team (11-16, 5-9 SEC) beat the Missouri Tigers (19-8, 7-7 SEC), 80-73 in Coleman Coliseum Saturday night.
"It was great just to see Levi (Randolph) play with that confidence, that freedom, and to put it together for 40 minutes, and we needed every bit of it," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "Obviously Levi did a great job tonight - you look at 33 points on the board - but there was so many different things that our guys did well tonight. Communication was good out there from a defense standpoint and they just had fun out there competing."
Senior guard Trevor Releford added 18 points and a game-high six assists to the Crimson Tide's efforts. He now has sole possession of seventh place on Alabama's all-time career scoring list with 1,793, moving out of a tie with Erwin Dudley (2000-03) and standing just 20 points behind James Robinson (1991-93) and sixth place.
The lead went back and forth through the first nine minutes of the game before a Randolph dunk at 11:23 on the first-half clock gave the Crimson Tide the lead for good. Alabama led by as many as 10 before the break and was ahead 42-35 as the first half came to an end, with more than half its points coming from Alabama's bench. Behind 19 first-half points from Randolph, Alabama scored more than 40 in the first half for the first time since playing Stillman in the third game of the season.
Missouri wouldn't go away though, working its way back into the game over the first 12 minutes of the second half, cutting Alabama's lead to one with just over seven minutes to play. At that point, the Tide's defense stiffened and Randolph and Releford, who combined to score 24 of Alabama's 38 second-half points, closed out the game strong to give the Tide the win.
"I think Missouri is a great team," Grant said. "They cut it to one there, and you could tell our guys were not going to be denied just from the way they approached each possession. They understood what they had to do to come out with the win."
Alabama shot 57.4 percent for the game, including 10-of-21 shooting from behind the three-point arc while holding Missouri to 47.9 percent shooting and 31.3 from three-point territory. Junior guard Rodney Cooper had a team-high six rebounds to go with nine points and four assists.
Alabama will finish out the month of February on Wednesday night when it travels to Oxford, Miss., to take on Mississippi at 7 p.m. CT. The game will be available exclusively on ESPN3.com. It will mark the Tide's fifth road contest in eight games this month.
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