Men's Basketball Welcomes Mississippi State On Wednesday Night

Jan. 14, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama will put its league-leading 13-home court winning streak against SEC competition on the line when it hosts the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. CT.

 

This marks the lone meeting between the two rivals this season. The last time that Alabama and Mississippi State played just once during the regular season came 50 years ago, during the 1963-64 campaign.

 

THE BROADCAST

Wednesday night's contest will be televised on SEC TV, and can be seen on WatchESPN.com, with Dave Neal (play-by-play) and Barry Booker (analyst) on the call. The game can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Bryan Passink (analyst) calling all the action.  The Alabama broadcast can also be heard nationally on Sirius Channel 136 and XM Channel 201. There will be live updates throughout the game available on twitter @AlabamaMBB.

 

THE SERIES

Alabama and Mississippi State will meet for the 191st time in series history on Wednesday night - the most times UA has played any one opponent in program history. The Tide owns a 117-73 edge in the all-time series, including wins in five of the last six contests played between the two teams. Alabama owns a record of 74-16 in all-time games against the Bulldogs at home, including a 37-8 mark at Coleman Coliseum.

 

THE COACHES

Alabama coach Anthony Grant is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. Grant owns an 93-60 (.608) record during his time at the Capstone and is 169-85 (.664) in eight seasons as a head coach. Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray is in his second season as a head coach and has guided the Bulldogs to a record of 21-26 (.447).

 

THE NOTES YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Alabama leads all SEC schools with 13 straight home wins vs. league competition coming into Wednesday's contest vs. Mississippi State. The last time an Alabama team lost at home against an SEC opponent came when it dropped a 61-52 decision to then-No. 14 Florida on Feb. 14, 2012. In fact, since 2011, head coach Anthony Grant has a record of 24-2 (.923) at home against SEC competition.
  • Mississippi State leads the SEC and ranks 10th in the nation with 9.6 steals per contest, while Alabama ranks third in the league and 33rd nationally in the same category at 8.1 spg.
  • Over the Tide's last four games, Trevor Releford is averaging 21.3 points and 4.5 steals per game, while also shooting 54.0 percent (27-of-50) from the floor and 37.9 percent (11-of-29) from beyond the arc.
  • Freshman Shannon Hale ranks fourth among freshmen in SEC games only with 14.5 ppg. Over his last five games, he is averaging 11.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
  • Releford leads the SEC and ranks in the top-10 nationally in free throw percentage and steals per game. He is shooting 92.9 percent from the foul line this season, which ranks fourth in the nation. Meanwhile, his 2.6 steals per game average ranks 10th nationally.
  • All eight of Alabama's losses have been by 10 or fewer points for a combined total of 47 points (5.9 points per loss).

 

SCOUTING ALABAMA

• Alabama dropped its first SEC game of the season when it fell at Georgia, 66-58, last Saturday night. The Bulldogs attempted 34 free throws in the second half alone and finished with 44 free throw attempts for the game en route to the eight-point victory. Senior guard Trevor Releford led three Alabama players in double figures with 17 points. Junior guard Rodney Cooper (15 points) and freshman forward Shannon Hale (14 points) also recorded double-digits in the loss.

• Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 18.2 points per game, which ranks sixth in the SEC. The Bob Cousy Award Watch list honoree has connected on 50.6 percent (85-of-168) of his shots from the floor and a team-best 38.4 percent (33-of-86) from beyond the arc. He also tops SEC and ranks 10th nationally with 2.6 steals per game and leads the Tide with 2.7 assists per contest.

• Sophomore guard Retin Obasohan is the only other player to average double figure scoring at 12.4 points per game. He ranks second SEC and 15th nationally with 2.5 steals per game, and leads Alabama in blocks per contest (1.1) and free throws made (72) and attempted (97).

• Junior guard Levi Randolph (9.5) and junior forward Nick Jacobs (9.1) both average over nine points a game. Randolph ranks second on the team in rebounding (4.4 rpg) and is third in three-point shooting (34.1 percent).

• As a team, UA is shooting 45.8 percent from the floor and 33.5 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide outscoring the competition by 4.9 points a game (71.3-66.4). Alabama currently ranks fourth in the SEC and 39th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (29.8 percent). The Tide also ranks third the SEC in free throw shooting (.699). Furthermore, UA ranks among the SEC and national leaders steals per game (8.1 spg; 4th/33rd) per game.

 

ALABAMA-GEORGIA: A LOOK BACK

• Alabama and Georgia met for the 142nd time on the hardwood, which is the sixth-most games UA has played against any one opponent. With the loss, the Tide had its five-game winning streak against the Bulldogs snapped and now owns a 93-48 lead in the series.

• Georgia finished the game with 44 free throw attempts, including 34 free throw attempts in the second half alone. In fact, the Bulldogs made just four field goals in the final 20 minutes and one in the final 12 minutes, but still managed to score 32 second-half points on the way to the win.

• Georgia's 44 free throw attempts in the game were the most by a UA opponent since Weber State had 46 free throw attempts in an overtime contest on Dec. 21, 1998. The last time a team had at least 44 free throw attempts in regulation came on Nov. 28, 1997 vs. American Puerto Rico. Moreover, the last time an Alabama opponent had at least 31 free throws made in a game occurred on March 3, 2001 vs. Ole Miss (made 32-of-43 free throws).

• Freshman forward Shannon Hale continued his stellar play as of late, finishing the contest with 14 points and five rebounds. He had 13 points in the first half and is now averaging 11.8 points and 4.6 rebounds over his last five contests

• Releford finished 2-of-2 from the foul line and has now made 21 consecutive free throws. He leads the SEC and ranks fourth in the nation in free throw percentage (.929).

• Alabama was outrebounded, 41-32, on the night and falls to 1-7 this season when losing the battle of the boards.

• Trevor Releford led Alabama with 17 points in the victory. It is the eighth time he led the Crimson Tide in scoring this season and was his 14th double-digit scoring game this season. He has scored in double figures in every game he has played this season and 16 straight double-figure scoring contests dating back to last season.

• Releford added a season-high three assists and had four steals in the winning effort. He now has 18 steals in his last four games (4.5 steals per game).

 

ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI STATE - SERIES NOTES

NOTE: A box score from the last meeting between Mississippi State can be found on page 9

• Alabama and Mississippi State will meet for the 191st time in series history on Wednesday night - the most times UA has played any one opponent in program history.

• This marks the lone meeting between the two rivals this season. The last time that Alabama and Mississippi State played just once during the regular season came 50 years ago, during the 1963-64 campaign.

• The Tide owns a 117-73 edge in the all-time series, including wins in five of the last six contests played between the two teams.

• Alabama owns a record of 74-16 in all-time games against the Bulldogs at home, including a 37-8 mark at Coleman Coliseum.

• UA head coach Anthony Grant has a record of 6-2 in the seven games he has coached against the Bulldogs, including a perfect 4-0 mark in Coleman Coliseum.

• The 96-year-old series has seen 13 overtime contests including the 2008-09 season's double-overtime affair.

• Sixty-two of the meetings have been decided by five or fewer points.

• In career games against Mississippi State, junior Rodney Cooper is averaging 15.0 points and 5.3 rebounds a game. Trevor Releford is averaging 13.4 points, 4.8 assists and 2.8 steals a game, while Levi Randolph is averaging 11.5 points and 5.5 rebounds  for his career against the Bulldogs.

 

ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI STATE: A YEAR AGO

• Alabama won two games over Mississippi State last season. The Tide has won three straight and seven of the last nine over the Bulldogs.

• The Tide captured a 75-43 victory in the first meeting, which was played in Humphrey Coliseum on Jan. 16, 2013.  Levi Randolph paced Alabama with 18 points, while Rodney Cooper had 17. Nick Jacobs added a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the victory.

• In the second game, Alabama sneaked away with a 64-56 victory on Feb. 20, 2013 in Coleman Coliseum. Cooper had another solid performance as he recorded his first career double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Trevor Releford added 17 points, five assists, five rebounds and five steals.

 

UP NEXT

• Alabama will play the first of two games against Missouri this season when it travels to Columbia, Mo., to square off against the Tigers on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised on ESPN2.

• This will mark the seventh meeting between Alabama and Missouri, and the second time that the two teams will meet as SEC rivals. The Tide owns 4-2 all-time lead in the series, but the Tigers have won two straight games in the series.

• Last season, then-No. 12 Missouri defeated Alabama, 84-68, in the Tigers' first-ever SEC game, which took place on Jan. 8, 2013. Trevor Releford led the Tide with a then-career-high 26 points in the losing effort.

 

RAISING IT TO ANOTHER LEVEL

• Senior point guard and Bob Cousy Award nominee Trevor Releford has been a steady presence throughout the season, but has really stepped his game up as of late.

• Over the Tide's last four games, Releford has been nearly unstoppable. During that span, the Kansas City, Mo., native is averaging 21.3 points, 4.5 steals and 3.0 assists per game, while also shooting 54.0 percent (27-of-50) from the floor and 37.9 percent (11-of-29) from beyond the arc.

• Over that same span, Releford has connected on 20-of-20 from the foul line (has currently made 21 consecutive free throws) and averaged 35.2 minutes per game.

 

HALE MAKING IT RAIN

• Freshman Shannon Hale has been making a solid  contribution for head coach Anthony Grant over the Tide's last five contests.

• In the five games since not seeing any action against Wichita State (12/17), Hale has collected a total of 59 points and 23 rebounds, which is an average of 11.8 points and 4.6 rebounds a contest.

• During that same five-game span, Hale is shooting 61 percent from the floor (22-of-36) and 41.8 percent from deep (7-of-17).

• In comparison, through his first nine games, Hale had a total of 24 points and 20 rebounds for an average of 2.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.

• Among SEC freshmen through two league games, Hale ranks fourth in scoring average (14.5 ppg) and seventh in field goal percentage (.647). He set a career-high with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor in the win over Vanderbilt (1/7).

 

BACKCOURT THIEVES

• Alabama guards Trevor Releford and Retin Obasohan both rank among the nation's leaders in steals per game.

• Releford leads the SEC and ranks 10th in the nation with 2.6 steals a game, while Obasohan's 2.5 steals per contest ranks second in the league and 15th in the nation.

• Together, the duo is averaging 5.1 steals per game, which ranks fourth in the NCAA among all duos in terms of takeaways.

• Below is the top-six duos in the nation (as of Jan. 12) in combined steals per game:

1. Weber (4.0)/Brandenburg (1.8) - VCU              5.8

2. Hammond (3.0)/Mosley (2.2) - Ark. Pine Bluff               5.2

    Adams (3.4)/Anderson (1.8) - UCLA    5.2

4. Releford (2.6)/Obasohan (2.5) - Alabama        5.1

5.  Ennis (2.6)/Cooney (2.3) - Syracuse           4.9

6.  Williams (2.6)/Cormier (2.2) - Loyola (Md.)              4.8

 

LETTING THE GAME "RUN" AWAY

• Alabama comes into the Mississippi State game with a 7-8 overall record. But the Tide's record could look entirely different had UA finished some of the close games it has lost.

• Alabama has a record of 2-6 this season in contests that have been decided by 10 or fewer points. The Tide's seven losses have been by a combined total of 47 points - an average of 5.9 points per game.

• In each of its eight losses, Alabama either held the lead or was within striking distance late in a game. However, in each instance, the Tide allowed the opposition to go on a game-deciding run late in the second half.

• Below is a breakdown of each loss, including the decisive run that occurred.

OPP Score (time)               Opp. Run | run-length | score  Final

vs. Okla. 66-67 (6:07)         10-1 | 5:01 | 67-77                          73-82

vs. Duke 51-56 (5:17)        13-8 | 4:44 | 59-69                          64-74

vs. Drexel 61-57 (1:07)      4-0 | 1:07 | 61-61                            83-85 (3ot)

at USF 46-42 (10:34)          18-6 | 8:03 | 52-60                          64-66

Wichita St. 58-58 (4:44)    13-8 | 3:33 | 66-71                          67-72

Xavier 57-50 (8:30)             18-6 | 5:24 | 63-68                          74-77

at UCLA 67-67 (1:34)          8-0 | 1:34 | 67-75                            67-75

at Georgia 43-46 (7:37)     9-3 | 3:16 | 46-55                            58-66

 

HOME SWEET HOME

• Now in his fifth season at UA, Grant has a record of 59-14 (.808) on Alabama's home floor. This season, the Tide is 7-2 at home and has outscored teams by an average of 12.6 points a game (73.4-60.9).

• Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, Grant has won 55 of the last 64 games played under the arched roof of Coleman Coliseum (55-9; .859).

• Overall, Alabama owns a record of 524-118 (.818) in the facility's 47th season of use.

• Grant also led UA to 24 straight home victories that spanned the final home game of the 2009-10 season through the beginning of the 2011-12 season.

 

SEC HOME COURT WINNING STREAK

• Alabama leads all Southeastern Conference schools with 13 straight home wins vs. league competition following the 68-63 win over Vanderbilt last Tuesday in the SEC opener for both teams.

• The Tide won its final three home SEC contests in 2012 and finished last season 9-0 at home against league competition.

• The last time an Alabama team lost at home against an SEC opponent came when it dropped a 61-52 decision to then-No. 14 Florida on Feb. 14, 2012.

• Since Grant's arrival in 2009, Alabama owns a home record of  28-6 (.824) against SEC competition, including a 24-2 (.923) mark since 2011.

 

DIFFERENCE IN HOME AND AWAY NUMBERS

• Alabama is 7-2 in games played at Coleman Coliseum this year. However, the Tide is 0-6 away from home, which includes an 0-3 mark in neutral site games.

• In its nine home games, the Tide is shooting 48.8 percent from the floor and 37.7 percent from beyond the arc. However, when playing away from home, those numbers fall to 41.7 percent shooting from the floor and 26.8 percent from deep.

• Below is a breakdown of key numbers on the road and at home this season.

                         OPP             OPP           OPP

               PPG  PPG  FG% FG% 3FG% 3FG%

HOME  73.4  60.9   .488  .403  .377 .302

AWAY  68.2  74.7   .417  .428  .268 .292

 

TOUGH COMPETITION

• Alabama's non-conference strength of schedule ranked as the fourth-toughest in Division I by ESPN.com.

• The Tide's seven losses in non-conference play have come against teams with a combined record of 88-26 (.772) through games played as of Jan. 13 [Oklahoma, 13-3; Duke, 13-4; Drexel, 9-6; USF, 10-6; Wichita State, 17-0; Xavier, 13-4; UCLA, 13-3].

• Of the seven non-conference losses, five have come against teams ranked among the top 50 RPI, according to KenPom.com.

 

SHUFFLING THE STARTERS

• Alabama head coach Anthony Grant has used nine different starting lineups in the team's 15 games this season.

• No Alabama player has started all 15 contests.

• Below is a breakdown of the different lineups used and the record of each lineup (Bold indicates most recent starting five):

Releford, Obasohan, Randolph, Cooper, Taylor  2-2

Releford, Obasohan, Randolph, Taylor, Jacobs   0-3

Releford, Obasohan, Randolph, Hale, Engstrom               1-1

Releford, Obasohan, Cooper, Taylor, Jacobs        1-0

Key, Releford, Randolph, Jacobs, Taylor                                1-0

Key, Obasohan, Randolph, Jacobs, Taylor             1-0

Releford, Randolph, Cooper, Hale, Taylor             1-0

Key, Releford, Obasohan, Cooper, Jacobs            0-1

Obasohan, Randolph, Cooper, Hale, Engstrom   0-1

 

GETTING TO THE LINE

• Alabama is one of the better free throw shooting teams in the league. In fact, the Tide ranks third in the SEC, connecting on 69.9 percent of its free throw attempts for the year.

• Senior guard Trevor Releford tops the SEC and ranks fourth in the NCAA in free throw percentage (92.9 percent). He has made 21 straight free throws coming into Wednesday's contest. The last time he missed a free throw came against Xavier on Dec. 21.

• In addition, sophomore guard Retin Obasohan has also benefited from the charity stripe this season. The Antwerp, Belgium, native leads the team with 72 free throws made (4.8 per game) and 97 free throw attempts (6.5 per game).


 

 

• Unfortunately, as good as the Tide has been at the line, the opposition has been even better. Alabama opponents are shooting an impressive 74.2 percent from the foul line. According to KenPom.com, UA ranks 340th in the nation in opponent's free throw percentage.

 

 

     
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