Jan. 17, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - 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.
Saturday's contest will be televised on ESPN2 with Mark Jones (play-by-play) and Jimmy Dykes (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 contest will also be broadcast nationally on Sirius Channel 113 and XM Channel 199. There will be live updates throughout the game available on twitter @AlabamaMBB.
Alabama and Missouri will meet for the seventh time in series history on Saturday. It will mark the second time that the two teams will meet as SEC rivals. The Tide owns a 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, in Columbia, Mo. Trevor Releford led the Tide with a then-career-high 26 points in the losing effort.
Alabama coach Anthony Grant is in his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. Grant owns a 94-60 (.610) record during his time at the Capstone and is 170-85 (.667) in eight seasons as a head coach. Missouri head coach Frank Haith is in his third season as a head coach and has guided the Tigers to a record of 61-18 (.763). Now in his ninth season as a head coach, Haith has a career record of 190-120 (.613).
THE NOTES YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Guards Retin Obasohan (2.6 spg) and Trevor Releford (2.5 spg) rank first and second in the SEC in steals per game, respectively. Together, the duo is averaging 5.1 steals per game, which ranks fourth in the NCAA among all duos in terms of takeaways.
- Over the Tide's last five games, Trevor Releford is averaging 22.6 points and 3.8 steals per game, while also shooting 58.7 percent (37-of-63) from the floor and 44.7 percent (17-of-38) from beyond the arc.
- Freshman Shannon Hale's 13.7 points per game in SEC play ranks third among SEC freshmen, while he also ranks ninth among rookies in field goal percentage in SEC play (.617). Over his last six games, Hale is second on the team with 11.8 points per game and 40.0 percent three-point field goal percentage. Over that same span, he is leading the Tide in rebounding (4.3 rpg) and field goal percentage (.600).
- Releford leads the SEC and ranks in the top-15 nationally in free throw percentage and steals per game. He has made 23 consecutive free throws and is shooting 93.1 percent from the foul line this season, which ranks fourth in the nation. Meanwhile, his 2.5 steals per game average ranks 13th 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).
Alabama won for the third time in its last four games as it captured an 80-61 victory over Mississippi State on Wednesday night. Senior guard Trevor Releford continued his stellar play, finishing with a game-high 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the floor and 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. Freshman Shannon Hale had 12 points, while sophomore guard Retin Obasohan added 11 points, four blocks and three steals in the victory.
Releford leads all Alabama scorers with an average of 18.9 points per game, which is tied for fourth in the SEC. The Bob Cousy Award Watch list honoree has connected on 52.5 percent (95-of-181) of his shots from the floor and a team-best 41.1 percent (39-of-95) from beyond the arc. He also ranks second in the SEC and 13th nationally with 2.5 steals per game and leads the Tide with 2.9 assists per contest.
Obasohan is the only other player to average double figure scoring at 12.3 points per game. He leads the SEC and ranks 12th nationally with 2.6 steals per game, and leads Alabama in blocks per contest (1.3) and free throws made (75) and attempted (104).
Junior guard Levi Randolph (9.3) 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 (32.6 percent).
As a team, UA is shooting 46.2 percent from the floor and 34.1 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide outscoring the competition by 5.8 points a game (71.9-66.1). Alabama currently ranks third in the SEC and 39th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (29.9 percent). The Tide also ranks fourth the SEC in free throw shooting (.696). Furthermore, UA ranks among the SEC and national leaders steals per game (8.1 spg; 4th/33rd) per game.
ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI STATE: A LOOK BACK
Alabama and Mississippi State played for the 192nd time in series history, which is the most times the Tide has played any one opponent in program lore. With the win, the Tide owns a 118-73 edge in the all-time series, including wins in six of the last seven contests played between the two teams.
With the 80-61 win, Alabama owns a record of 75-16 in all-time games against the Bulldogs at home, including a 38-8 mark at Coleman Coliseum. Anthony Grant improves to 7-2 in nine games he has coached against the Bulldogs, including a perfect 5-0 mark in Coleman Coliseum.
This year's match-up marked the lone meeting between the two schools. It is the first time in 50 years (dating back to the 1963-64 season) that Alabama and Mississippi State will play just once during the regular season.
Trevor Releford finished with a game-high 28 points in the victory. It marked his 17th straight game in double figures dating back to last season. Moreover, it was his fifth 20-point game of the year and the ninth time he led the Tide in scoring this season.
With his 28 points on the night, Releford moved past Melvin Cheatum (1988-91) and into 14th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,585 points in his career.
Alabama outrebounded Mississippi State, 33-28, in the victory. It is the eighth time this season that the Tide has won the battle of the boards this season, improving to 7-1 in such contests.
The Bulldogs had 18 free throw attempts, compared to 16 attempts for Alabama. It was the first win this season when the Tide has fewer attempts at the charity stripe than its opponent (1-5).
Alabama had a season-high 10 three-pointers made and 25 three-pointers attempted vs. Mississippi State
Alabama shot 52.6 percent from the floor, which was the fourth time this year the Tide has shot better than 50 percent in a contest. Alabama is 4-0 this season when reaching the mark in a game.
Mississippi State came into the game leading the SEC and was 10th in the nation in steals per game at 9.6 spg. However, the Bulldogs were limited to only three steals on the night.
ALABAMA-MISSOURI - SERIES NOTES
Alabama and Missouri will meet for just the second time as SEC rivals and for the seventh time overall in series history on Saturday afternoon.
It will be the first of two meetings between the two teams this season. Missouri will make a return game on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. That will mark just the second time the Tigers will play in Tuscaloosa. The only other meeting came on March 18, 1996 when Alabama captured a 72-49 victory over Missouri in the second round of the 1996 NIT.
The Tide owns a 4-2 edge in the all-time series, however, the Tigers have captured two straight victories when playing Alabama.
Alabama is 1-1 when playing Missouri in Columbia. The only victory over the Tigers on their home floor came on Dec. 18, 1978 (Alabama won, 65-58).
Four of the six games played between the two teams have been decided by less than 10 points.
ALABAMA-MISSOURI: A YEAR AGO
The Alabama men's basketball team fell to then-No. 12/10 Missouri, 84-68, on Jan. 8, 2013 in Columbia, Mo. It was the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams, and the first-ever SEC contest the Tigers played.
Trevor Releford, who went over 1,000-career points with a then-career-high 26, led the Tide's offensive attack. Rodney Cooper added 11 points in the losing effort. Missouri's Jabari Brown led the Tigers with 22 points, including knocking down 5-of-7 three-pointers.
The score stayed close for a majority of the game. The Crimson Tide trailed by only four points at the half and kept within striking distance for most of the second half. However, Missouri closed out the final of minutes of the game on a 12-4 run, which put the final margin into double figures.
Missouri outscored the Tide 40-28 in the paint and 27-15 from beyond the three-point arc.
Alabama will play the first of two games against No. 7/7 Florida this season when it hosts the Gators on Thursday night at 6 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised on ESPN2.
Thursday's game will mark the 136th meeting on the hardwood between the two schools, which is the eighth-most games UA has played against any one opponent. The Crimson Tide owns a 73-62 edge in the series. However, the Gators have won seven straight games over the Crimson Tide and 18 of the last 21 contests played between the two schools.
This marks Florida's first trip to Coleman Coliseum since Feb. 14, 2012, which was also the last time Alabama dropped a home game. The Tide has an all-time record of 48-17 when playing the Gators in Tuscaloosa, including a record of 27-6 in Coleman Coliseum. However, Florida has claimed three straight wins at Alabama. The last time the Tide defeated Florida at home came on Feb. 26, 2006.
Nine of the last 13 games have been decided by 10 points or less.
Head coach Anthony Grant has an all-time record of 0-7 when he has faced the Gators. Excluding Missouri (which Grant has played only once after the the Tigers joined the SEC last season), Florida is the only SEC team Grant has not defeated as UA's head coach.
ONE OF THE BEST
Senior point guard and Bob Cousy Award nominee Trevor Releford is not only proving to be one of the top players in the SEC, but also is showing why he is an elite player in the nation.
Releford is quietly putting together one of the best seasons by any player in the league. Below is a breakdown of where he ranks among the SEC and national leaders this year:
Category SEC Rank NCAA Rank
FT% (.931) 1st 4th
Total Steals (38) 2nd 24th
SPG (2.53) 2nd 9th
3FG% (.411) t-3rd 91st
PPG (18.9) t-4th 53rd
3's Made/Game (2.6) t-4th NA
FG% (.525) 5th --
Furthermore, below is how Releford's career numbers rank among the greatest players to ever play at Alabama:
Category UA History
Steals (232) 1st (SEC Active Leader)
9th in SEC History
FT% (.818) 5th
3-Point Attempts (358) 9th
Career Starts (110) 10th
Total Points (1,582) 14th (SEC Active Leader)
Total Assists (341) NA (SEC Active Leader)
RAISING IT TO ANOTHER LEVEL
As good as he has played throughout the season, senior guard Trevor Releford has been nearly unstoppable over his last five games.
During that span, the Kansas City, Mo., native is averaging 22.6 points, 3.8 steals and 3.2 assists per game, while also shooting 58.7 percent (37-of-63) from the floor and 44.7 percent (17-of-38) from beyond the arc.
Over that same span, Releford has connected on 22-of-22 from the foul line (has currently made 23 consecutive free throws) and averaged 34.6 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 six contests.
After seeing limited action over his first 10 games into his freshman season, Hale is averaging a team-leading 4.3 rebounds a game and is second on the team 11.8 points a contest in the last six games
During that same six-game span, Hale is shooting 60 percent from the floor (27-of-45) and 40 percent from deep (9-of-21).
Among SEC freshmen through three league games, Hale ranks third in scoring average (13.7 ppg) and ninth in field goal percentage (.615). He set a career-high with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor in the win over Vanderbilt (1/7).
Below is a breakdown of Hale's numbers from his first 10 games to his last six:
GP-GS MPG PPG RPG FG% 3FG%
First 10 gms 9-0 11.1 2.7 2.2 .321 .286
Last 6 gms 6-5 25.3 11.8 4.3 .600 .400
CUTTING DOWN THE TURNOVERS
Trevor Releford has not only been shooting the ball well, but his distribution has been as equally as impressive.
After beginning the season with 10 assists and 24 turnovers through his first six games, Releford has 33 assists and just 15 turnovers in the Tide's last 10 contests.
As a result, Alabama's assist-to-turnover ratio has steadily improved. UA had 67 assists to 90 turnovers in the first six games, but has since recorded 114 assists and 106 turnovers.
Alabama guards Trevor Releford and Retin Obasohan both rank among the nation's leaders in steals per game.
Obasohan leads the SEC and ranks 12th in the nation with 2.6 steals a game, while Releford's 2.5 steals per contest ranks second in the league and 13th 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 (through Jan. 17).
Below is the top-six duos in the nation (as of Jan. 17) in combined steals per game:
1. Weber (3.8)/Brandenburg (1.8) - VCU 5.6
2. Adams (3.4)/Anderson (1.9) - UCLA 5.3
3. Hammond (3.0)/Mosley (2.2) - Ark. Pine Bluff 5.2
4. Obasohan (2.6)/Releford (2.5) - Alabama 5.1
Ennis (2.8)/Cooney (2.3) - Syracuse 5.1
6. Williams (2.6)/Cormier (2.2) - Loyola (Md.) 4.8